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EDITORIAL: Grounds For Navua Optimism Not Scepticism

Can you believe it? At least US$200 million investment in projects by a company with business foundations in China/Hong Kong could seem over ambitious. Over optimistic to some. And why
20 Jul 2015 11:57
EDITORIAL: Grounds For Navua Optimism Not Scepticism
Chief operating officer of Skyline Estate Investment Group Limited (China) Alan Cheng, with the model of Maui Castle during a press conference in Suva last week. Photo: Rama

Can you believe it? At least US$200 million investment in projects by a company with business foundations in China/Hong Kong could seem over ambitious. Over optimistic to some.
And why not? After all we have had some foreign “investors” coming in times past and talking big. But nothing much seemed to have eventuated.
So any scepticism on the announcement by Skyline Estate Investment Group on its Electric Park, Navua, and Maui Castle tourism and real estate development along the Coral Coast is understandable.
But hold on. Let’s look at the other side of the coin.
Skyline has sponsored an event for the Chinese ambassador. He would not have been there if the embassy did not see Skyline as legitimate.
Skyline is working closely with Investment Fiji as well as Government wherever needed. It is pushing to get approvals as soon as possible. It wants to begin work. It is not hiding – like some have – behind a smokescreen of slow official approvals.
Skyline has also rented out for an initial three-year term the entire Mercury House on Suva’s Victoria Parade. This historic prime property is now owned by Fiji National Provident Fund. It used to house FINTEL and before that Britain’s Cable and Wireless. This property does not come cheap.
It’s early days yet. Navua is just one of Skyline’s planned developments. But the concept of the Electric Park on Queens Road near Navua town is interesting.
If all goes according to plan, we could soon see business and household electrical appliances being made in Fiji much cheaper for the domestic market and for export.
The feasibility study for this noted the trends in the large number of Chinese electrical goods being imported here.
For Fiji, this could be the first step towards turning us from an importer into the electrical goods manufacturing hub of the South Pacific.
And this is exactly the sort of “out of the box thinking” the Bainimarama Government has been pushing investors for.
The availability of land in Fiji, our location, stable, forward-thinking government, investor friendly environment and skilled and educated workforce make us suitable for such a venture.
At the end of the day, it boosts promoting Fijian Made products and Fiji as a place where high quality products are manufactured.
This is in addition to more jobs in a fast growing area and additional benefits for the landowners there.
Early days yet. The proof will ultimately be in the end product. But definitely cause for optimism, rather than scepticism.

Feedback: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj


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