Opinion

EFL Shares Another Ground Breaking Move

The offering of Energy Fiji Limited shares to ordinary consumers is unprecedented. It is groundbreaking. In many respects, it is symbolic. It opens up new possibilities about public participation in
20 Jun 2018 14:19
EFL Shares Another Ground Breaking Move
The Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (middle) with Energy Fiji Limited non-voting shareholders, at Koroivolu Park in Nadi on June 18, 2018. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa

The offering of Energy Fiji Limited shares to ordinary consumers is unprecedented.

It is groundbreaking. In many respects, it is symbolic. It opens up new possibilities about public participation in Government-owned entities. These entities have been corporatized like EFL with private shareholders.

Now ordinary people can become private shareholders.

The EFL shares to consumers are  unique because they are free.

Effectively those who register are shareholders.

While they can’t vote, they can ask questions and receive  their share of dividend payout when EFL makes a profit.

When the share offer was sent to consumers, including those in villages, I saw a villager’s face light up after he opened his envelope.

He felt important. “This is the first big thing I have received in my life. Never been involved in a business. Am I a shareholder of EFL now?” he asked. He was told not yet but he would if he filled his application form.

In  Nadi, 62-year-old and wheelchair-bound Surendra Kumar was overwhelmed with emotions when he received his share certificate from the Attorney-General and Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

That kind of response is expected to be replicated in other parts of the country when people receive their certificates.

One of the benefits of the shares  is that the earnings from dividend can pay off outstanding electricity bills.

The shares  can also be sold  to the Pacific Stock Exchange.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has revealed that 40,000  of the 120,000 customers of EFL have registered. This is expected to increase after the grid is expanded. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has said $40 million has been allocated to expand the grid.

The prominent feature of this initiative is the provision of more opportunities for ordinary people to participate in the economy.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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