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Friday, December 29, 2006

Value Added Tax to remain at 12.5%

Value Added Tax will remain at 12.5% from 1 January 2007 and not increase to 15% as had been recommended by the former Qarase Government. The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority said that the increase was not passed as law by the former Government, thus, there will be no increases. The announcement gives some respite to lowly paid consumers and those that have lost jobs as a result of the military takeover. The interim government is looking at ways to make up for the shortfall in government revenue that was to have been assisted with the increase in Value Added Tax.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Flour Mills of Fiji to construct a F$15 million brewery

Flour Mills of Fiji, a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, will be constructing a F$15 million brewery next year. The brewery will employ 200 workers in a four-storey building. Processing machines are to be imported from China with the brewer contracted from overseas.

The company is hoping that the Interim Government will approve their proposal for tax benefits, duty free import of machines and accelerated depreciation for the F$15 million investment.

The company will make three kinds of beer for import to Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Island countries.

This planned move by the company should bode well for investors in the company.

Note from GV : For investment advice, pls contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on e-mail or telephone +679 3396427. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr is an investment advisor licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority of Fiji - Fiji's capital markets regulator.

Military government reviews 2007 Government Budget

The Interim Military Government is in the process of reviewing the 2007 Government/National Budget. The Budget was a source of much discussion and disagreement when it was tabled in Parliament by the Qarase Government. Its most alarming features was a recommended increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) to 15%. Fiji consumers already pay 12.5% VAT on goods and services they buy. The Military has not said what its review would entail but it would be interesting to see what comes out after that review.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

European Union not to withdraw assistance for a while

A European Union official in Suva has confirmed that it will not be withdrawing any assistance to Fiji for a while. The EU will be meeting to discuss and debate the issue of suspension of aid and assistance which would take from 6 to 8 months. The EU's biggest aid program underway is a F$24 million project to enhance the education sector in Fiji. It is expected that the EU will be meeting with the interim government to discuss issues before a further decision is made.

Over F$750 million investment projects underway

More than F$750 million worth of private sector investments are underway, according to the Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau (FTIB), and will be completed between 2007 and 2008.

FTIB has set up an action group to continue promotion of trade and investment opportunities in Fiji. The Bureau said that while it would contribute to promote trade and investment opportunities in its traditional markets, it will also redirect focus towards the Asian and Middle Eastern markets including India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea and Dubai.

About F$235 million projects have been established this year, compared to the Bureau's 2006 target of F$200 million.

FTIB said that while the primary focus of investment was in the tourism sector, companies were also investing in the agriculture and fishing sectors.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that require assistance for obtaining all necessary approvals and permits to set up business in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are by e-mail or telephone +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Bank South Pacific to provide cross country banking

Bank South Pacific (BSP), a Papua New Guinea-based bank that opened a branch in Suva yesterday, said that its presence would assist in the development of bilateral trade between Fiji and PNG.

The bank will also provide cross-country banking facilities for PNG companies established in Fiji and to those that might expand to Fiji in future.

BSP said that it would expand and open a branch in Nadi during the first 12 months of operations and will also be upgrading its core banking system to provide up-to-date transaction and savings products and a full range of electronic banking services including ATMs, EFTPOS and internet banking.

The bank said that it would add a further dimension to the financial system in Fiji and provide an alternative to the established banks, ANZ and Westpac.

As at 30 June 2006, BSP had total assets of F$2 billion, deposits of F$1.8 billion and a loan portfolio of F$40 million. It recorded after tax profits of F$29 million for the first six months of this year which compares favourably to the full year profit of F$55 million made last year.

BSP acquired the operations of Habib Bank Limited of Pakistan.

Note from GV : For those that need investment or business advice, contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on e-mail or telephone +679 3396427 for assistance. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is an investment advisor licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority - Fiji's capital markets regulator.

Monday, December 18, 2006

PNG bank opens in Suva today

Papua New Guinea bank, Bank South Pacific Limited (BSP), opens in Suva today after obtaining a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of Fiji. BSP takes over the operations of Habib Bank Limited of Pakistan, which was been operating in Fiji since 1991. BSP is the largest bank in PNG and is listed on the Port Moresby Stock Exchange. It has a network of 39 branches across PNG and one overseas branch at Niue. The bank is on an expansion drive in the Pacific. Apart from setting up in Fiji, it also has been in arrangements to acquire the operations of the National Bank of Solomon Islands. The bank is located at the same premises that was used by Habib Bank at Renwick Road in Suva.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Interim Government reassures investors

The Interim Government has reassured investors for investing and to continue to invest in Fiji. The Interim President, Frank Bainimarama, has made it clear that the country is safe for investment and have vouched to safeguard, protect and facilitate investment in Fiji by foreign investors.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that require assistance to invest in Fiji, can contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, for assistance. Our contacts are e-mail or telephone +679 3396427.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

CMDA looks at projects

The Capital Markets Development Authority would continue to provide an attractive investment alternative for companies intending to raise capital in the Fiji capital markets. The Authority has several projects in the pipeline.

The CMDA said that capital markets were always focussed on long-term development and that current events in Fiji were unlikely to deter investors and businesses who were focussed on investing long term.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Film industry in Fiji confident

The Fiji Audio Visual Commission will continue to promote Fiji as a great film destination because the country still has the most attractive tax incentives in the world for film production.

The Commission's comments came after CBS Limited wrapped up its shooting of Survivor in Fiji last week. CBS earlier pulled out some of production staff from Suva and apart from some minor issues with travel and delivery of supplies, the show was not affected.

The company said that its producers on location were assured by the Fiji military what they were safe on the remote island where they were filming and that the cast and crew would be permitted to leave the country safely when the show wraps production.

The Fiji Audio Visual Commission said it will continue to promote Fiji as a great film destination, with its many exotic and untapped locations, its unique culture and multiracial and multi-religious people.

The Commission is planning to conduct aggressive promotional campaigns abroad next year.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that wish to invest or set up business in Fiji can contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, for assistance. Our contacts are by e-mail or telephone +679 3396427.

Internet providers welcome competition

Competition in wireless internet services were welcomed by the two service providers in the industry, Unwired Fiji and Connect Fiji, after a move by Fiji Telecommunications Limited (FINTEL) to provide those services.

Unwired Fiji said there was room for competition in that industry in Fiji while Telecom Fiji, whose subsidiary is Connect Fiji, said that competition was good for the industry.

Consumers should now see more competitive rates offered in the wireless internet sector.

Tourism Action Group works on rebuilding confidence

The Tourism Action Group (TAG) has been reconstituted and will focus on rebuilding confidence in Fiji as a preferred holiday destination. TAG will advise Fiji's source markets for tourists that despite the political events, Fiji is still beautiful and as friendly as ever. The body's focus will be on the need to mobilise its efforts with other tourism related businesses into rebuilding the industry.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Interesting times for investors

These are indeed interesting times for investors who have already invested in Fiji and those considering to invest their hard-earned dollars. What does one do? Buy government papers? Will government be able to make good its promise to honour those papers when they fall due? Do you invest here, yes, right here in Fiji? If you do, what options are available to you? How about investing overseas? Investing in Australia and NZ are options that could be considered. How do you go about that with all the foreign currency and exchange control restrictions just put in place by the Reserve Bank of Fiji yesterday? For advice, contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on e-mail or telephone +679 3396427. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is an investment advisor licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority - Fiji's capital markets regulator. Read his profile at the right hand side of this blog.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Property gives best returns: study

We duplicate here the outcome of a study in Australia which was reported on

Investors should be devoting at least 20 per cent of their investment portfolio to direct property assets in the retail, office and industrial sectors, a study shows.

The study commissioned by the Australian Direct Property Investment Association (ADPIA) found increasing the direct, or commercial, property component in an investment portfolio significantly reduced risk and the chance of investment loss.

The research looked at the performance of 11 different asset classes over 10 and 20 year periods, such as local and overseas shares, residential and listed property, Australian fixed interest and cash, and managed funds.

"ADPIA's view is we should have at least 20 per cent in direct property," ADPIA immediate past-president and executive committee member Richard Cutler said.

Mr Cutler, who also heads up Macquarie Bank's Direct Property division, said there was a very significant mismatch between the findings and what was happening in the market, with the allocation to commercial property from investors and their advisers declining since the 1980s.

"It (property) is the financial wealth of the world and ... we've got a very low and decreasing allocation to it," he said.

"So common sense says we've got it back to front and this research will really flesh that out."

Atchison Consultants managing director Ken Atchison, who carried out the study for ADPIA, said the decline was caused by a lack of available research, as well as behavioural finance.

"A market goes bad and everybody withdraws – that's the time when you should invest ... it's a classical psychological reaction," Mr Atchison said.

Investment in direct property peaked in the property boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He said the research showed direct property provided strong total returns of 9.5 per cent in the 20 years to June 30, 2006, and 10.5 per cent over the 10-year period, with industrial and retail assets the best performers.

In the 10 years to June 30, direct property also produced the highest levels of income return of any other asset class, at 7.2 per cent, the report found.

According to the study, the asset class also exhibited the lowest volatility of income returns over both periods, a valuable characteristic that made a significant difference to long-term returns because it reduced the chance of making a timing error entering or exiting the market, Mr Atchison said.

He said a fully diversified property portfolio should be made up of "four states, three sectors", being NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, and across the office, retail and industrial sectors.

ADPIA represents property industry professionals such as fund managers, custodians and financiers and was set up as the peak industry body in 1999.

Note from GV : For investment advice in Fiji, contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on e-mail or telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is an investment adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority of Fiji - Fiji's capital markets regulator.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Interest rates continue to rise

Commercial banks' interest rates in Fiji continue to rise. Whilst this will affect borrowing for investment purposes, it is good for those seeking to invest. For one year term deposits, ANZ now pays the best rate at 7% followed by Credit Corporation Fiji Limited at 6.75% and HFC Finance at 6.5%. While some investors may be a bit hesitant to invest at the moment, it is important to point out that none of Fiji's banks have failed as a result of previous political crises. For more information and advise, contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on e-mail or telephone numbers +679 3396427 or +679 9921427. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is an investment adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority - Fiji's capital markets regulator.

Note from GV : For self catering accommodation in Suva, check out our two bedroom rental home through links at the right hand side of this blog and then get in touch with us on the contacts noted above. Book early for the Southern winter, June to September 2007!

Friday, December 01, 2006

A good time to buy?

With what is happening now in Fiji, investors should keep a close watch on the following :
  • property market as prices there is likely to come down with the rise in interest rates and the loss of jobs making it difficult for some people to be able to service their residential loans;
  • sell out of businesses as owners try to make something out of them before things go down further;
  • stock market as more existing investors will likely sell their interests pushing share prices down.

This may provide a good opportunity for investors who target buying low and selling when things go up again. It is also a good time to come for a holiday as accommodation providers bring down their rates to attract people after the mass cancellations of bookings by tourists and tour providers. For more on this, contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited on e-mail or telephone +679 3396427.