Elections Seen To Bring Investment Opportunities

Fiji’s economic growth has been a mixed bag. Each of the four coups in Fiji has seen a drop in GDP of approximately five per cent in their immediate aftermath,
27 Sep 2014 11:27
Elections Seen To Bring Investment Opportunities

Fiji’s economic growth has been a mixed bag.

Each of the four coups in Fiji has seen a drop in GDP of approximately five per cent in their immediate aftermath, according to Satish Chand, Finance Professor at the University of New South Wales.

But since 2010, the economy has been returning to growth, averaging three per cent per annum.

Tourism has rebounded, he says, mainly from Australia, but so has infrastructure spending, with government pouring 25 per cent of GDP into roads, transport, jetties, wharves, and sewerage plants.

And, according to Investment Fiji executive chairman, Bradley Truman, 152 foreign investment project proposals were received between January and July this year, valued at FJ$1.3 billion, employing potentially 4921.


Greg Pawson, President of the Australia-Fiji Business Council, said a lot of the investment is by locally-based businesses.

“A lot of the growth that has been occurring in Fiji more recently—and it’s actually quite vibrant and optimistic – is driven by domestic demand,” he said.

ANZ chief executive Fiji and Pacific, Vishnu Mohan, feels that post elections, Fiji will be a different story.

“I think there’ll be a lot of investment coming in. I know a lot of potential investors were waiting to see the elections happen and then to see a stable government coming in,” he said.

“Then, they will start building infrastructure and taking the country forward.”

BSP’s Robin Fleming agrees more investment is likely.

“I get over there quite regularly, and the general mood of business is positive,” he told Business Advantage PNG.


Mr Pawson said from a Business Council point of view, the feedback that they were getting is that businesses are looking for stability.

“Firstly, they want a democratic government, but also policies that will encourage foreign investors to go back in there, and also we’d like to see continuous consultation with business groups such as ourselves.”

Key sectors

The sectors likely to attract more foreign investment are tourism, resources, infrastructure and ICT.

Mr Pawson suggested: “Resorts – quite a broad spectrum and quite a number of the larger multinational operators were probably holding back to see what eventuates.

“And then you’ve got at the end of the scale is the smaller operators that are actually just sitting back to see what happened.”

A good example of that, he says, was the re-opening recently of the the Grand Pacific Hotel. The GPH is a partnership between the Fiji National Provident Fund which holds 25 per cent shares, 50 per cent is owned by Papua New Guinea National Superannuation Fund while Lamana Development Limited of PNG owns 25 per cent shares.

Mr Chand said China is likely to increase its mining activities, particularly in bauxite on Vanua Levu, and says at least two more water bottling plants are in the pipeline.


Both Mr Chand and Mr Pawson pointed out recent infrastructure investment, which will assist business development, includes the resealing of roads in and around Suva’s CBD, the building of a 4-lane road from Nadi Airport to the town, and the sealing of the ring road around Viti Levu.

“They’ve outsourced the running of the port and, from all accounts, the running of the port has improved quite significantly,” Mr Pawson said.

“And then, of course, the proposed refurbishment of Nadi International Airport. I think Nausori will be a beneficiary of that now there are direct flights to Auckland and Sydney out of Suva.”

Funds to drive investment

Mr Pawson believes much of the potential investment in Fiji is likely to come from regional superannuation funds.

“In Fiji, and some of the smaller jurisdictions, like Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, there comes a stage when they are strapped to find good local opportunities,” he said.

“This, therefore, forces them to look beyond their jurisdiction and other parts of the region and I think that’s a positive thing.”


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