SUNBIZ

PM Acknowledges Private Sector For Driving Growth

A $10 million investment by an Australian couple has seen to the opening of Fiji’s newest and luxurious 4-Star boutique resort opened in May 2013. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has
01 Nov 2014 15:57
PM Acknowledges Private Sector For Driving Growth
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama addressing delegates at the joint Fiji Australia and Australia Fiji Business Council Forum in Suva yesterday. Photo: RAMA

A $10 million investment by an Australian couple has seen to the opening of Fiji’s newest and luxurious 4-Star boutique resort opened in May 2013.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has acknowledged the private sector for driving economic growth.

He noted the private sector investment has reached 15 per cent of GDP this year, up from 13 per cent in 2013.

“Only twice in Fiji’s history since Independence has private sector investment exceeded 13 per cent.  So we are on a roll which we are determined to continue,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama made these comments while speaking at the joint Fiji Australia and Australia Fiji Business Council forum in Suva yesterday.

He said investors were responding positively to our low corporate and individual tax rates; the elimination of tariffs on a wide range of goods and materials; and the creation of a number of tax free zones across the country.

“A total of 226 Australian projects worth more than $1-billion were registered in Fiji over the past six years and the 99 implemented during that same time have created more than 1000 jobs,” he said.

But, Mr Bainimarama is convinced that this is just the beginning.

“Fiji is the ideal destination for manufacturing and agro-based businesses that we are looking to grow and expand,” he said.

“And investors could also consider outsourcing parts of their production, business and back end processes to Fiji.

“The bottom line is that opportunities exist across a broad range of sectors and our doors are open.”

More opportunities

Mr Bainimarama said there are now even more new opportunities given that my Government is making more state land available for investment and with up to 99 year leases.

“Indeed we have also put in policies and incentives to encourage the iTaukei or indigenous landowners to make more land available with security of tenure for productive use for their benefit and for investment,” he said.

Areas of trade

Mr Bainimarama said it’s not just the new investment opportunities to be excited about.

“There remains a significant amount of untapped potential in our traditional areas of trade,” he said.

“While it’s true that we have had a long history of trade with Australia and Australia remains one of Fiji’s top export destinations, it’s also true that total trade with Australia has reduced in recent years.

“This for us has been made up for by new trading relationships with countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

“Even before this recent slump, though, for decades the trade balance has been grossly slanted – we import far more from Australia than we export to her.

“The vast majority of Fijian exports to Australia are of garments and gold, which if discounted, put our exports to Australia on par with our exports to New Zealand, which has an economy seven times smaller than Australia.

“We believe that Australia can change this imbalance by providing Fiji with better market access.

“There are huge opportunities for Fijian businesses in the Australian marketplace that could produce gains for both the nations.

“I can assure you that my Government is putting every effort into brokering arrangements with our counterparts to make these opportunities a reality.”

Top priorities

Mr Bainimarama said at the moment, two of their top priorities are for more Australian assistance to help our exporters meet the stringent quarantine and technical requirements, as well as for an extension of the SPARTECA TCF Scheme.

This includes an improvement of the rules of trade.

“The SPARTECA TCF Scheme is due to expire at the end of the year and it is critical that it be extended beyond this date,” he said.

“The agreement is essential to Fiji’s economic development and growth. The garment and footwear industry is a major contributor to the Fijian economy, generating around $100-million in exports.”

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 




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