NEWS

Physically-challenged Father of 4 in Tears After Receiving EFL Share Certificate

Sixty-two-year-old Surendra Kumar broke down in tears after he received the Energy Fiji Limited non-voting shares certificate from Acting Prime Minister and Attorney- General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Nadi yesterday. The
19 Jun 2018 11:31
Physically-challenged Father of 4 in Tears  After Receiving EFL Share Certificate
The Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum hands over the certificate to Energy Fiji Limited non-voting shareholder recipient, Surendra Kumar, at Koroivolu Park in Nadi on June 18, 2018. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa

Sixty-two-year-old Surendra Kumar broke down in tears after he received the Energy Fiji Limited non-voting shares certificate from Acting Prime Minister and Attorney- General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Nadi yesterday.

The father of four who is from Nawaka in Nadi, was confined to his wheelchair, was taken up by his 57-year-old wife, Sushi Kumar. He was among 50 people living within areas in Nadi who received their shares.

For people with salary under $30,000 they were given 250 shares while those above that threshold were given 150.

Due to a severe illness in 2009, Mr Kumar suffered a stroke which made him bed-ridden and also caused brain damages. He couldn’t speak either.

Speaking on behalf of his husband, Ms Kumar said the shares would allow them to make money.

“My husband was in tears when the Attorney-General gave him his certificate and we are thankful to have this kind of Government. It’s been hard for me to look after my husband alone because we have no source of income and we hope these shares will help us,” she said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was a historic moment for Fiji and the first time that a Government-owned entity that has been corporatised where we have private shareholders which is people like yourselves.

“You know that you aren’t paying a single cent for these shares. We have decided that we corporatise the EFL and part of the shares will be sold to strategic partners who have technological experience and track record of the energy sector,” he said.

“Government will still hold most of the shares because the energy sector is a very strategic sector and we need to keep control of that. If Government owns something that means that you are also the owner of that.

“The balance of the shares will be sold to the private sector in particular those who have the technological know-how. On the other end we have reserved five per cent of the total number of shares to ordinary Fijians.”

Hold onto your shares

The idea that people have become a shareholder, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it meant that they could hold onto the share and in 18 months you could sell those shares to the Pacific Stock Exchange.

He said Government wanted ordinary Fijians to be part of these changes.

“Look after these shares, these are your assets  because we are allowing the liberation of the economy, we want everyone to have the benefit ,” Mr Sayed- Khaiyum said.

He said there were 120,000 customers of EFL of which 40,000 customers had come forward to register for shares.

He added they were exploring new partners with EFL to start venturing into renewable energy.

This year, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they had allocated $40 million to expand the electricity grid for  isolated farms and rural areas where people don’t have electricity.

Edited by Jyoti Pratibha

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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