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Budget Submission From Nadi Chamber Of Commerce And Industry

The Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry hopes to see a fair, positive, creative and balanced 2017 National Budget with incentives for growth and investment. Chamber president Dr Ram Raju
13 Jun 2016 11:33
Budget Submission From Nadi Chamber Of Commerce And Industry
Budget

The Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry hopes to see a fair, positive, creative and balanced 2017 National Budget with incentives for growth and investment.

Chamber president Dr Ram Raju said reforms for both private and public sector should implemented that will help propel private sector growth confidently .

This formed the basis of their submission to Government.

“Investor friendly taxation policies and changes should provide further incentives and confidence and will hopefully make Fiji one of the best Pacific Island countries to do business with,” Dr Raju said.

“Fiji has the potential, capacity and resources to match any other country in developments and growth.

“Our GDP might have slowed but is relatively strong which is an indication of the confidence of the private sector, the business community.

“Opportunities are boundless (and countless) in generating economic growth, particularly in the private sector despite the effects of TC Winston

“We have witnessed many former Fiji citizens investing and reinvesting in Fiji spurning growth and activities, not only in Nadi but many other parts of Fiji.”

 

Land for development

Dr Raju said Fiji has vast areas of land that could be better used and developed.

“Our land mass is about 18 times bigger than Singapore which makes one wonder,” he said.

“We have the capacity in abundance and genuine skilful society and unlimited resources which remains untapped.

“We can be the “Singapore of the Pacific” without much difficulty if we pool all the resources together.

“Nadi in particular is enjoying unprecedented growth and investments (and spared the wrath of TC Winston).

“We are pleased to see the hive of activities in the private business sector who are obviously confident than ever before with past and current government’s policies and decisions. Dual citizenship is perhaps the catalyst.”

 

Support for SME’s

Dr Raju said it was pleasing to note the removal of various stamp duties (2016 budget) that was a hindrance and expensive for many medium, small and micro enterprises (MSME), but the ease of doing business in Fiji needs to be improved upon and fast tracked.

“Singapore has been ranked number 1 for decades, New Zealand second and Fiji ranked 88.

“Surely we can improve upon this fact by fast tracking on all the requirements for investments, setting up businesses. The much talked about “one stop shop” or “one window” doesn’t seem to be in practice

“MSME’s are the real backbone of Fiji’s private sector growth, employment and productivity who account for approximately 12 per cent towards the GDP or close to $800 million.

“The Credit Guarantee Scheme should be maintained and I hope more MSME’s will take advantage of this scheme.

“NCCI office will help facilitate anyone interested to expand their businesses or start afresh.

“Many are unaware of this scheme that is supported by most commercial banks including FDB and Carpenter’s Finance.”

 

Infrastructure Investments

The chamber also submitted the allocation of funds and strong emphasis on infrastructure developments was warranted for obvious reasons.

Dr Raju said: “We have untapped potential in the rural areas that needs to open up with incentives.

“Not only good roads, but tarsealed as well so that they will truly create opportunities and get the people together.

“There are many back packer resorts that is not easily accessible which are the future of ecotourism.

“There are many tourist-related attractive tours and activities in the rural areas such as Sabeto mud pools, Sabeto Orchid gardens, Zipline and waterfalls in Sabeto.

“As well as Nausori Highland Ecotours, Tau Caves and Momi gun sites, Sigatoka River Safari, Abaca Village and Waterfall.

“All these accessible roads should be tarsealed to allow maximum patronage and economic activities, increasing productivity and vibrant economy.”

Dr Raju said tarsealing of all roads in the rural areas and the provision of all essential services like water, electricity, drains and sewerage would also see newer resorts and hotels being built; agricultural, horticultural and animal production activities to grow.

“This will prevent the movement or migration of rural dwellers to urban areas and ultimately boost domestic growth and improve overall economic wellbeing of the rural dwellers,” he said.

“As mentioned earlier we have untapped potential.

“And our roads are not safe at all as we continue to see so many horrendous accidents all over the country but more so in busy highways.

“A separate submission will be made on this issue to the relevant authorities very shortly.”

EDITED BY: RACHNA LAL

Read more on NCCI’s submission in the Fiji Sun tomorrow.

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