NEWS

PM: Cabinet Approved The Establishment Of A New EODB Task Force Under The Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Tourism

Mr Bainimarama said they were committed to improving service delivery and streamlining business efficiency.
18 Oct 2019 16:10
PM: Cabinet Approved The Establishment Of A New EODB Task Force Under The Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Tourism
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Brisbane, Australia.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings of how Fiji has historically underperformed in its standing have their flaws and biases.

Common cause

But he adds they “highlight a common cause that is shared by my Government: cutting red tape and unwanted bureaucracy.”

He was speaking to members of the Australia-Fiji Business Council at the Marriott Hotel in Brisbane yesterday.

Also present were the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Premila Kumar, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services, Jone Usamate, Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Mahendra Reddy, President of the Australia-Fiji Business Council, Stuart Fredriksson, Fijian High Commissioner to Australia, Luke Daunivalu and Permanent Secretaries.

Mr Bainimarama said they were committed to improving service delivery and streamlining business efficiency.

Measures

He said with recent measures that had been taken, he was confident that people would see a steady rise in Fiji’s ease of business ranking starting in 2020, “when many of our new and planned reforms have fully come into effect and have been considered by the World Bank during their annual review process.”

“To ensure we stay on track, this year, my Cabinet approved the establishment of a new EODB Task Force under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism,” he said.

“This Task Force will have my full backing to streamline procedures and processes, eliminate repetition and inconsistencies, and bring business transparency to new heights in Fiji.

“With these goals in mind – but also recognising that the best perspective comes from within the private sector itself – we have recently established the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service Business Reform Committee, a group of business leaders representing sectors and industries, large and small.

“The Committee, which held its first meeting in August of this year, is charged with reviewing Fiji’s tax and customs services, improving stakeholder engagement strategies within FRCS, and building FRCS’s capacity to better accommodate businesses of all varieties, ensuring that all people, businesses and sectors receive professional services from FRCS – a critical step towards a more inclusive, agile and robust economy.

Participants at the Australia- Fiji Business Council Forum in Brisbane, Australia.

Participants at the Australia- Fiji Business Council Forum in Brisbane, Australia.

Consecutive economic growth

“Fiji’s ten years of consecutive economic growth, alongside the host of incentives designed to make the Fijian market attractive for foreign investors, means that there is no better time to invest in our beloved country. Through our infrastructure investments and recent tax reforms, we’ve laid the groundwork for a host of new businesses to thrive – from ICT, to roading companies, to consultancies and technical services, to retirement communities, and more, your potential is limitless.”

“My friends, I’m confident that history will already remember 2019 as a momentous year for the Fiji-Australian friendship. In January, I had the pleasure of hosting my counterpart, Scott Morrison, in his first official visit to Fiji – the first-ever such visit by an Australian Prime Minister to our shores. Last month, we switched roles as I came to Australia for an official visit of my own. And just last week, Scott was again in Fiji to watch our rugby league teams go head-to-head in the 2019 PM’s XIII.

“The frequency of these visits, and this direct line of communication we’ve established are unprecedented. Scott and I have formalised this new chapter in Fiji-Australia relations by putting ink to paper with the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership. “Vuvale” means “family” in indigenous Fijian – and this agreement seeks to significantly bolster our bilateral ties. I don’t just say that because Scott doubled the amount of kava I’m allowed to bring when I come to Australia, either.

Double taxation agreement

“But there’s still room for the relationship to grow – and Fiji is keen to work with Australia to keep up the momentum by updating our double taxation agreement.

Over the years, this Forum has evolved to become a hallmark event for Australian businesspeople who are looking to Fiji for investment and business opportunities. With more than 120 companies as members, this Forum has become the perfect space for any business engaged in bilateral trade or looking to engage in the future. As we come together for this year’s event, joined by the highest levels of government from both Fiji and Australia, it’s clear now more than ever this Forum is a dynamic platform for exchanging ideas, engaging in networking, and exploring business opportunities between our two countries.

“My Government has always understood that, while government is a facilitator to economic activity, the real engine for growth is the private sector – and we are dedicated to making sure that engine is well-oiled and humming. It’s why we’ve taken bold steps such as the divestment of shares in state-owned enterprises, and why we are actively forging public-private partnerships to transform public housing and improve our hospitals, the latter in partnership with Australia’s Aspen Medical.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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