Our PM Draws Kiwi Interest Here
NZ-based businesses like Fijian investment environment, show positive responses, says Koya
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s powerful speeches are attracting growing interest in Fiji from New Zealand businesses and investors After he addressed the Trade and Investment Symposium in Auckland on Thursday morning, there has been a positive response. Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Siddiq Koya, acknowledging the PM, said the symposium “was very successful and has therefore received very positive responses from the New Zealand business community.” Mr Koya said: “It was most encouraging when the existing investors acknowledged the Fijian Government’s efforts to create the best environment for doing business.” He highlighted that the symposium
provided a valuable platform for building a stronger Fijian brand in the New Zealand market that encourages and motivates New Zealand investors to consider investing in key sectors such as ICT, tourism and agriculture sectors. Later at the dinner on Thursday night, Mr Bainimarama did not mince his words. He said “the time to begin doing business with Fiji or to take your existing business to another level has never been better. “The one thing I would ask you all to do is to follow the proper processes that we have set up to make the investment process more orderly and transparent,” Mr Bainimarama said. “My Ministers and I often have potential international investors coming to us asking for special favours. But we don’t believe in short cuts and we certainly don’t tolerate doing business on the principle of “who you know” or the principle of the nod and a wink.
“We insist on due process and efficiency and believe that our zero tolerance for corruption and our insistence on the maintenance of law and order are powerful incentives in themselves to invest in Fiji.” He said one of the things that he had done since adding the Foreign Affairs portfolio to his responsibilities as Prime Minister was to give trade a greater priority in our overall engagement with other countries. “My instructions to our diplomats including our High Commissioner in Wellington, Filimoni Waqabaca, is to redouble our efforts to boost our trade performance and take it to another level. This includes not only working harder to attract trade and investment to Fiji but to better promote the Fijian-Made brand of quality products and services.
So we are especially keen to talk to companies in New Zealand who can promote the Fijian-Made brand because we think that a lot more can be done in this area.
“Fiji is well and truly open for business. With a range of investment incentives and some of the lowest corporate and personal taxes in the region. Most of you will already know about the new infrastructure we have created, including better roads, better airports, more efficient ports. Plus the great connectivity we offer to surrounding markets as the Hub of the Pacific and our state-of-the-art telecommunications. “You will also know that we have an educated, English speaking workforce that is gaining more formal qualifications all the time through our education revolution.” Mr Koya said the symposium was attended by approximately 105 businesses, which included former Fijians, key New Zealand businesses, and the New ZealandFiji Business Council representing their members to the symposium.
The Business Council’s members include a large number of small and medium enterprises, New Zealand’s largest public listed company and companies that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
“Therefore, a cross section of New Zealand businesses was represented at the symposium. The symposium was to share information between the relevant trade and investment agencies and private sector who are interested in investing in or trading with Fiji.” Meanwhile, Mr Bainimarama said he was impressed with how an indigenous business operated in New Zealand. He said he wanted to have a similar venture in Fiji. Moana New Zealand is a major exporter of seafood out of New Zealand and is owned by the 57 iwis (tribes) of the . Mr Bainimarama visited the facility to gain insight into Maori business methods in the fisheries sector with the goal of developing Fiji’s economy. He said Moana New Zealand was a perfect example of how indigenous businesses could use their natural resources to improve their livelihoods. New Zealand’s Pacific Economic Ambassador Shane Jones said the visit by Mr Bainimarama was a new path for closer co-operation between the iwis and the iTaukei. “There may be opportunities for some of our businesses to go there because he has opened that door for us. Prime Minister Bainimarama wants to build Maori business networks, foster relationships and create more seasonal work opportunities for his people,” Mr Jones said. Mr Bainimarama will be officially welcomed by New Zealand at Government House in Auckland this morning. This evening, he will watch the Bledisloe rugby match between the All Blacks and the Wallabies at Eden Park, Auckland, with NZ PM John Key.