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.

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