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18,900 Entreprises Supported by Govt

18,900 Entreprises Supported by Govt
Government officials at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) opened its 74th session on May 14, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO NEWS
May 16
10:10 2018

To date the Fijian Govern­ment has supported 18,900 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), of which 40 per cent are women entrepre­neurs.

This was revealed by the Minis­ter for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya’s at the United Na­tions Economic and Social Com­mission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) opened its 74th session in Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday.

The meeting theme is “Inequality in Asia and the Pacific in the era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

The Fijian Government, he said over the past decade has made sig­nificant changes in the economic and socio-economic policies for the development of the rural and grassroot communities, empower­ing women and providing oppor­tunities to the young and innova­tive minds.

Mr Koya said initiatives such as Micro and Small Business Grant provide the smallest of small busi­nesses a leg-up.

“A minimum of $1,000 grant is provided for individuals to start their business or to further im­prove their existing business.

“The Fijian Government is part­nering with the Fiji Development Bank in this process.

“This links the businesses with commercial banks and also gradu­ates them from informal to the for­mal sector.

“To date, we have supported over 18,900 MSMEs, of which 40 per cent are women entrepreneurs.”

The programme, he said has a success rate of 80 per cent, which is high by international standard.

Other small to meduim entrepris­es initiatives include, Government Guarantee for financing, agricul­ture grant, business skills train­ing, to name a few.

Youth Empowerment

“We have a young population, approximately 50 per cent of the population is below the age of 27.5 years and 69 per cent is below the age of 40 years,” he said.

“Therefore, the Young Entrepre­neurship Scheme (YES) is to pro­mote young entrepreneurs.

“The scheme is to assist our edu­cated and talented Fijians between the ages of 18 to 30 years with in­novative and unique ideas.

“The scheme is to give our youth the confidence that they can be job creators and not just job seekers.

“We in turn want Fiji to progress its status as the hub of the Pacific and become the innovation hub.”

Mr Koya said it showed consist­ent and pro-growth policies and initiatives, amongst other, have led Fiji to achieve unprecedented lev­els of economic growth.

“Fiji has maintained a decade of positive growth, with over four per cent growth in the last five years.

“Due to the inward focused poli­cies, we have been able to survive external shocks and the impact of natural disasters.

“The per capita income has dou­bled from $6,400 in 2006 to over $12,000 in 2017, unemployment rate reached a 20-year low of four per cent, we have strong foreign re­serves and debt to GDP is around 45.5 per cent, which is the lowest in 15 years.

“Investments by domestic and foreign investors remain robust.

“In addition, the IMF Article IV report that was released recently stated that “Fiji’s income inequal­ity has declined in the last 15 years”, and six it is “attributed to improvements in the social safety net and in employment”.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure is a crucial compo­nent to economic empowerment of Fijians.

Mr Koya said: “Fiji has invested in trade and investment enabling infrastructure, such as roads to ac­cess markets, improvement in port facilities to enhance our hub sta­tus, increased ICT connectivity in rural and isolated regions within the country.

“Today, capital expenditure makes up 40 per cent of the nation­al budget as compared to 19 per cent in the period 2000-2006.”

Mr Koya said the theme for the meeting this year has identified common issues for the Asia and Pacific region when working to­wards the goals of Agenda 2030.

“Reduction of inequality is a key pillar in the national development goals.

“The Fijian Constitution lays the foundation for inclusive growth, giving each and every Fijian socio-growth rights.”

National Development Plan

He also highlighted Fiji’s five-year and 20-year National Devel­opment Plan sets the platform to continue to “transform Fiji” into a unified, prosperous, inclusive and progressive modern nation.

The Plan consists of two ap­proaches, which are:

(i)Inclusive Socio-economic Development –

which ensures that all socio-eco­nomic rights in the Constitution are realised.

Inclusivity is at the centre of growth and development, and the benefits of prosperity is spread as widely as possible to enhance so­cial well-being of all Fijians.

It ensures that no one should be left behind, regardless of geo­graphical location, gender, ethnic­ity, physical and intellectual ca­pability, and social and economic status.

(ii)Transformational Strategic Thrusts –

includes forwardlooking, sus­tainable and consistent policy shifts to expand our develop­ment frontier and support the vision of transforming Fiji. New and emerging growth sec­tors will be nurtured, connectiv­ity within and to the outside world will be enhanced, new technolo­gies embraced, productivity max­imised, human capital develop­ment will be accelerated and green growth will be a key guiding prin­ciple in the implementation of this Plan.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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