Economic forum looks at key priorities
Cook Islands News
Sat 07 Feb 2009
The Cook Islands Research Association’s economic crisis forum resulted in several common suggestions for priority actions for the country.
The association says overall the forum identified the need for a larger collaborative team involving the private sector and government to work together on the details of the stimulus package for 2009/2010 budget.
The forum included opinion from the private sector including the tourism industry, retail industry, and from the chamber of commerce, government, the opposition party, banks, and economists.
Key priorities for a stimulus package from government which these sectors identified at the forum were headed by the call for extra tourism promotion.
Other suggested priorities were investment in infrastructure (using local contractors), tax cuts, increased foreign investment, lower interest rates from banks (and maybe soft loans), and investment in primary industry (such as agriculture) especially in the outer islands.
Tourism marketing in the longer haul higher yield markets and the need for extra flights and carriers for the US, Europe and Australian markets was highlighted at the forum.
Many of those who spoke at the forum suggested that efforts need to be made to reduce the cost of telecommunications. The main calls are for government to allow competition for Telecom Cook Islands, to improve regulation and negotiate with TCI to improve services and keep prices down.
Finance minister Sir Terepai Maoate told the forum government wants to hear what advice there is to help grow the economy and weather an economic crisis.