SUNBIZ

Big American investment into mineral water to benefit landowners: A-G

At least three villages in Rakiraki will benefit from a proposed $140 million investment by 480 Holdings Limited to build a factory. The American company would engage in packaging and
03 Dec 2015 10:27
Big American investment into mineral water  to benefit  landowners: A-G

At least three villages in Rakiraki will benefit from a proposed $140 million investment by 480 Holdings Limited to build a factory.

The American company would engage in packaging and exporting mineral water to many different parts of the world.

Government has granted 99 years of lease to the investors and a premium of $2 million will be paid over five years.

A cheque of $554,451 was paid for the first year which includes payment for land lease for the first year and other related fees.

480 Holdings director, Robert George Bishop said the Fijian economy will definitely benefit from this investment.

“We are looking at an investment of around $140 million to $150 million which will provide more jobs and one per cent of our revenue will go to all participating villages,” Mr Bishop said.

“When you look at one per cent gross revenue which is what 480 Holdings Limited Humantarian Fund pays to participating villages directly involved on the key leases, that represents about $100 million minimum  over the term of the lease.

“So the villagers will be getting $1 million per village per year and up to $3 million per village per year with the figures increasing by the years.”

As for the funding for the project, the company said the Export Import Bank of the United States which has already given them a letter of interest.

 

Commitment

Acting Prime Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said this was a very momentous occasion for the country.

“Now we have this company which is going to invest a significant amount of funds into extracting mineral water that will obviously be marketed throughout the world and not just Fiji,” he said.

“It does show a very firm and deep commitment to very sound investment in Fiji as the developers they have been in the country for five years.

“They were genuinely committed to invest in this economy, and we obviously want investors and businesses to make money but also have a particular level of commitment to Fiji.”

 

Economically-depressed area

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, said the project will benefit the people of Rakiraki as it is one of the economically depressed areas in Fiji.

“The important fact about this project is that it will happen between Tavua and Rakiraki,” he said.

“Recently we have expanded the scope of the tax free zones from Matawalu village in Lautoka and all the way to Nausori is now a tax free zone,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“The reason this has been done is because these places are what we may call economically-depressed areas of Fiji so we need more people to stay in those areas and we need more economic activity.

“There is a lot of land available and by having such a lease, what it does actually is increase the value of land around it and increase the opportunities for all land owners who have not leased their land in those areas.”

 

No impact

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also assured the land owners that the land which will be used for this project poses no harm to their land owning rights.

“The Land Bank which is much talked about is in fact very good system as it provides opportunities for land owning units to be able to have another avenue,” he said.

“This this they can make their land available, to be able to participate in the economic life and landscape in Fiji.

“There has been a lot of misconception and I would like to say that there is absolutely no threat whatsoever to any land ownership for any land owner or land owning unit.

“The Fijian Constitution guarantees land ownership for all iTaukeis and for people who hold lease.”

Work on this project is expected to start in another four months which will serve as a good employment opportunity for the villages.

Feedback: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj



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