SUNBIZ

Government Ready To Facilitate Incentives

The comments was made by the Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the opening of the British American Tobacco Green Leaf Threshing Factory at Votualevu in Nadi yesterday
07 Jun 2020 10:46
Government Ready To Facilitate Incentives
From left: British American Tobacco Fiji Head of Finance Maimuna Haniff, BAT Fiji general manager Jeremy Hackett, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum, and Head of leaf division Zaheer Iqbal (second from right) touring the BAT Fiji Green Leaf Threshing Factory at Votualevu, Nadi on June 5, 2020. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Government is always ready to facilitate and provide the various incentives required to foster and engender investments to ensure confidence in the business sector.

The comments was made by the Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the opening of the British American Tobacco Green Leaf Threshing Factory at Votualevu in Nadi yesterday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said when the ground breaking ceremony was done last year, no one would have known about the COVID-19 pandemic striking this year.

He however cautioned on “not letting our guards down” with all Fiji’s positive cases now cleared.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday twitted the three COVID-19 cases that were left had all tested negative giving Fiji a 100 per cent recovery from the disease.

“As the Prime Minister said, this doesn’t mean that we let our guard down.

“We need to be vigilant and take precautionary measures to stop the transmission of Covid-19 and ensure the strict restrictions are adhered to.

“As we’ve seen in the past when we had TC Winston, a lot of farmers (tobacco) had lost their crop and government then facilitated British American Tobacco to import tobacco from overseas to meet the local demand.We don’t ever want to be in that position again.

“This facility will help British American Tobacco to build a stockpile in case of natural disasters and cyclones and have enough to last for 18 months and that’s where we want to be.

“We now have farmers in Ba. Traditionally tobacco has been grown in the Nadi and Sigatoka area.”

Opportunity to earn more

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this gave tobacco farmers the opportunity to earn more money while the company provided assistance in growing the crops in other areas.

“Government is very mindful of these types of strategic investments that have to be made and our role is to provide the facilitating role.

“To provide the various incentives required to foster and engender investments so businesses in Fiji feel confident, have a level playing field, the rules are consistent and indeed the policies are consistent.”

He said there needed to be more collaboration between businesses and have sustainability to ensure that jobs were provided to ordinary Fijians and jobs were being created.

He reiterated the impact of COVID-19 on the collapse of the tourism which provided 40 per cent of the country’s GDP and the ensuing loss of jobs.

“I note that Britsh American Tobacco has not released anyone from their employment which is very much appreciated and we look forward to that being continued in fact we look forward to you increasing in numbers.We look forward to your submissions for the Budget for our new financial year.

He said BAT could have let go of the factory and not build but the company persevered and till its completion.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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