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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Air Terminal Services Limited puts $700,000 into new equipment

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Air Terminal Services (Fiji) Limited (ATS) has purchased F$700,000 worth of state-of-the-art aircraft loading equipment for Nadi International Airport in anticipation of the continued growth in tourism.

ATS CEO, Alifereti Malo, said that the country had experienced record numbers of visitors over the past five years and that all indications are that the number would continue to grow.

Aircraft arrivals and departures at Nadi International Airport have increased by 1,000 flights over the past five years from 3,293 flights in 2002 to 4,596 flights in 2005.

ATS services all international, regional aircraft and corporate jets that uses Nadi International Airport. It recognises its responsibility to provide engineering expertise, catering, aircraft cleaning, passenger handling as well as cargo and baggage control and realises the need to continue to update its equipment and services.

The recent equipment purchased is a Mobile Passenger Steps that will be used for boarding and disembarking passengers for aircrafts as big as Boeing 747s. This is in addition to the four that the company already has.

In addition, the company now has a Joint Cargo Pallet Loader that can also service aircrafts as large as the Boeing 747s. The Joint Cargo Pallet Loader significantly increases the amount of cargo that can be loaded and unloaded from an aircraft making the process faster and more efficient. The new loader adds to eleven already in operation.

Note from GV : Foreign investors wishing to set up business or invest in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Fiji needs access to Japan market

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Kaliopate Tavola, says Fiji needs access to the Japanese market if it is serious about enhancing trade. Mr Tavola said while trade existed between Fiji and Japan, more needed to be done as there were a lot of untapped opportunities to be explored. Mr Tavola made the comment in an interview at the Pacific Islands Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan, last week.

Mr Tavola said the expedition created more market access and Fiji needed to do more to expose local products in an international market with a growing economy. He said this was important in light of Fiji's falling export figures and the reduction in tourist numbers from Japan over the years.

Former Japanese Prime Minister, Kiyohiko Toyama, said the Pacific was important for Japan but that there was a lot of room for improvement in trade and investment.

Note from GV : Foreign investors wishing to set up business or invest in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Need to upgrade e-commerce laws

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Laws and structure of e-commerce in Fiji should be upgraded to ensure its adaptability to this new concept of world trade. The comment was made by Professor Mohammed Ahmadu who is based at the University of the South Pacific's Legal Department.

Professor Ahmadu said Fiji stood to benefit more from e-commerce because it could change its import dependent economy into an export driven one but foundations like laws and structures needed to be put in place first.

E-commerce is a new global process for trade through the use of digital technologies like the Internet.

Professor Ahmadu said that there was no coherent Government policy on Information Communications and Technology (ICT) which affected the private sector with the sector not effectively using e-commerce as a means of venturing into the international product and service markets.

Professor Ahmadu called on Government to galvanise the private sector's use of e-commerce with strong interventionist e-commerce policies.

Note from GV : Foreign investors wishing to set up business or invest in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Fiji and Australia to discuss garment trade

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

The garment trade agreement with Australia will be one of the main points discussed between Fiji's and Australia's Foreign Affairs Ministers when they meet in Canberra soon. The Foreign Affairs Ministry made the comment in response to calls by the Fiji Garment, Clothing and Textile Association for Government to act promptly on lapses in a trade agreement with Australia in order to save jobs in Fiji.

On Friday, a UN report states that Fiji's garment industry was bound to suffer more in the future and negotiations between Australia and China would have a severe effect on Fiji's garment industry. It said that Fiji's garment industry recorded its worst year in 2005 which saw 6,000 jobs lost.

The garment association said that with the new government now in place, they expected action to be expedited as the industry is one of the major providers of employment in the country.

Note from GV : Foreign investors wishing to set up business or invest in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ministers back Blueprint review

Cabinet has agreed that an in-depth review should be undertaken of the Government's Blueprint and Affirmative Action programs. Cabinet made the decision after a briefing by the Prime Minister at its first meeting yesterday.

The Prime Minister briefed Cabinet about the Small Grant Scheme and the Blueprint programs. Cabinet agreed that the Prime Minister's Office' Special Projects Unit assess and report on the outcome of the programs that have been implemented so far. In addition, Cabinet agreed that Government take necessary action towards completion of the Blueprint programs that have been partially implemented or not yet implemented.

The Blueprint is an affirmative action program for the 20-year Development Plan for the enhancement of participation of indigenous Fijians and Rotumans in Fiji's socio-economic development. It consists of 42 inter-related programs and activities administered by State ministries and departments.

The Prime Minister said that Government had made major progress in implementing Blueprint programs, with 62% of projects completed while 29% have been partially implemented and 9% have not been implemented at all.

F$28 million cane payout today

Cane farmers will today receive their fourth cane payment valued in total at F$28 million. The payment is expected to provide huge relief to cane farmers who struggled to prepare their fields for the next harvest. Harvesting for the 2006 season begins on 31 May with crushing to start a day later, on 1 June.

The Sugar Cane Growers Council reassured farmers that despite a 5% drop in European Union preferential prices this year, they could expect a good price for the coming season. The Council expects sugar prices to remain at $57 per tonne because of attractive world market prices.

The final payment for last season's crop would be paid out to farmers in October.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Public sector reform roadmap

The Asian Development Bank has been tasked with preparing a roadmap for public sector reforms. The Ministry of Public Enterprises and Public Sector Reforms, with the assistance of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, has arranged a wide-ranging program of technical assistance from the ADB to help with the reforms.

The Ministry of Public Enterprises and Public Sector Reforms said the focus of the program would be on preparing a practical roadmap for restructuring public enterprises to improve their efficiency and increase their return on investment. The ministry has already contracted a consultant and assigned a full range of tasks which need to be completed for successful reforms, including policy priorities, institutional changes, expected benefits and estimated costs of changes.

While the focus is on public enterprises, the scope of work is designed to be comprehensive and take into account broader reforms in order to ensure that Government and the public can be fully informed of policy options and gain maximum benefits.

Technical assistance will look at how the restructure of public enterprises can contribute to other national development policies of Government, in particular, to increase economic growth, generate employment, stimulate higher standards of living and implement affirmative action programs.

The roadmap would set out choices for Government policy on public enterprise ownership, performance and divestment. It will cover the strategy and options for divestiture of selected public enterprises; promotion of public-private partnerships; corporate governance of public enterprises; promotion of linkages to capital market development; and design and management of the whole change process.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

F$40 million start to Natadola project

The Natadola Tourism Project is expected to rake in F$40 million during its first year of operations, upon completion in 2008. The estimated earnings of the project are forecast to increase to F$690 million over the next 10 years according to the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF).

FNPF holds 51% shares in the Natadola Land Holdings Limited - the company responsible for developing Natadola.

The project would see Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts and Four Seasons Hotels coming to Fiji.

FNPF said that fund members would benefit from a forecast F$320 million in interest and dividends from equity and loans granted to the Natadola hotels.

With regard to employment opportunities, the construction phase alone would provide jobs for about 600 people while the hotel would hire about 500 staff on its completion.

The hotel will provide opportunities for secondary businesses with demand for transport/taxis, fresh food products and associated small businesses such as handicraft.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that need assistance to set up business or invest in Fiji, can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary approvals, licences and permits that are required. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Bureau happy with reforms

The Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau has promised to work with all investors and potential investors to ensure their dreams are realised. The Bureau said their desire to help investors stemmed from their passion of providing the people of Fiji with opportunities that were only now being experienced abroad. The Bureau said that helping investors would not only improve economic growth but create much needed employment opportunities. Government had introduced a number of reforms to help the bureau provide investors with the necessary support.

On FTIB's regulatory function, the amendment of the Foreign Investment Act in April 2004 and the implementation of the new investment approvals process introduced by the Bureau in July of the same year has seen a significant reduction in the time frame of processing and granting foreign investment registration certificates, which is a plus to foreign investors setting up business in Fiji.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that wish to set up business or invest in Fiji, can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Economic growth expected, Bank says

Fiji will experience more economic growth this year than had earlier been expected because of certain improvements in areas including agriculture, transport and communication sectors and continued investment into the country has been supported well by a booming construction industry with domestic demand for the sector remaining firm, according to the Reserve Bank of Fiji's latest Economic Review.

The Reserve Bank has revised upwards this year's growth projection from 2.0% to 2.7%, with improvements in many sectors of the economy. However, increased consumer spending forced the Reserve Bank to tighten monetary policy and push interest rates higher.

The report goes on to state that the latest available visitor arrivals figures was indicative of the optimism prevalent in the tourism industry.

Growth is also expected in the fisheries, forestry, social and personal, and electricity and water sectors.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fiji Airlines Limited applies for local routes

Fiji Airlines Limited, the new player in the domestic aviation market, has filed a notice of application for licences to services the domestic routes of Sun Air, including three new routes. Sun Air was bought by Air Pacific in a bid by the national carrier to enter the domestic market.

Besides applying to provide regular service to a number of routes, Fiji Airlines has also applied for a licence to provide a general charter air service.

It hopes to start operations by July 1.

The routes applied for include :
  • Suva/Savusavu;
  • Suva/Kadavu;
  • Suva/Rotuma;
  • Suva/Taveuni;
  • Suva/Labasa;
  • Nadi/Suva;
  • Nadi/Labasa;
  • Nadi/Vatulele;
  • Nadi/Yasawa;
  • Nadi/Kadavu;
  • Nadi/Savusavu;
  • Nadi/Taveuni;
  • Nadi/Malololailai;
  • Nadi/Mana;
  • Labasa/Taveuni;
  • Taveuni/Laucala;
  • Savusavu/Taveuni.
Note from GV : Those that need assistance investing or setting up a business in Fiji, can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, for assistance. Our contacts are telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Monasavu landowners sign deal

Representatives from 12 landowning units in Monasavu have finally signed long overdue agreements for use of their land. The landowners signed two deeds of settlement with the Fiji Electricity Authority and the Native Land Trust Board worth F$52.8 million. The settlement is for 99 years for 23.000 acres of catchment area for hydro-electricity generation.

The first payment of F$9.4 million is to be paid by June 15 with the second payment of F$1 million in September.

In addition to the compensation, the landowners will receive a lease payment from FEA of F$1.5 million plus an annual rental of $160,000.

The lawyers for the landowners said 60 per cent of the first payment would be shared equally among all mataqali members and 40 per cent kept in the Public Trust Fund for the mataqali's investment and future purposes.

Note from GV : Those in need of business and investment advice can contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, for assistance on telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Fiji TV hooks Cook Islands deal

Fiji Television Limited has signed an exclusive two-year deal with a Cook Islands company for the provision and distribution of SKY Pacific services in that country. The partnership between Fiji TV and CINEMA, the Cook Islands Networking Entertainment & Multi-Media Associates Limited, will see CINEMA being the only promoter and seller of SKY Pacific services and packages in the Cook Islands.

CINEMA is the Cook Islands' only specialised satellite and media centre company with services ranging from state-of-the-art media systems for offices through to home theatre solutions such as satellite dishes, home media PCs, flat panel TVs and wireless networks.

SKY Pacific, which is a direct-to-home satellite delivered television service will now provide 100 per cent television coverage to the Cook Islands.

Australia pumps in aid money

Fiji has been awarded total funding of F$33.8 million from the Australian Government as part of the Overseas Aid Program for 2006-2007. Part of this has been pumped into this year's general election as the program aimed to promote economic growth and stability in the nation. The assistance was also to help support the nation's public sector reform agenda. According to the Australian Government's website, assistance would also expand to the Law and Justice sector to help create a secure investment climate. The total funding given to the Pacific region was $434.4 million. Solomon Islands got the highest aid of around $233.0 million.

The Australian aid program assists developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development in line with the national interest.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hydroponics farm ready

The construction of a climatically controlled, state-of-the-art hydroponics farm in Colo-i-Suva has been completed with production of the first crop of lettuce expected to begin next month. The farm is owned by City Farming Limited, a joint venture between Fiji Investment Corporation Limited (FICL), local produce company Joes Farm Limited, and A&B Hydroponics of Australia.

Both Joes Farm and A&B Hydroponics International have widespread intercontinental distribution and marketing networks and this joint venture will be strengthened due to their involvement in the agro business industry over a combined period of 69 years.

FICL said that the hydroponics industry had great potential for immense growth due to the high demand for top quality fruit and vegetables. The demand comes from the booming tourism industry as well as the domestic consumer market. Booming urban population growth has seen the increase in consumption demand for temperate fruits and vegetables.

The company said that the joint venture would act as an import replacement effort to reduce tourism sector outflows. It said the company would see high quality fruits and vegetables supplied locally with the aim to eventually export to regional and international markets.

The company will see to the introduction of technology that will reduce real growing time to maturity, yet improve the quantity and quality of the produce.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that with to invest or set up business in Fiji, can contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj for further assistance/advice.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Power station opens

A F$9 million mini-hydro station was opened yesterday and is expected to increase the reliability and security of power supply to the recipient areas. The Nagado Hydro would also save over thousands of tonnes of green house gases per annum that contribute to global warming.

This is the second mini-hydro that Australia's Pacific Hydro Limited and the Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA) have jointly worked to realise. The first one was in 2004 with the 6.5 megawatts Wainikasou hydro station at Monasavu.

Pacific Hydro Limited said that the project contributed in a major way to the reduction of diesel fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Monday, May 01, 2006

FNPF's investments in Government securities are secure

The Fiji National Provident Fund's (FNPF) investments in Government papers are guaranteed investments are the Constitution and do not pose any risk to members' funds. The Minister of Finance said that FNPF holding a significant amount of Government papers was no cause for concern.

He said that the Fund also has a capacity to play in the development of economic sectors that requires financing, given that it has the largest pool of funds in the country. The Minister said that while portfolio expansion and diversification was important, the Fund must ensure that its expansion promoted competition in the financial system and supported the development of the capital markets.

The Minister said that members could rest assured that their funds were secure and that any investment decision endorsed by the FNPF was made with their best interests are heart, which was evident in the high interest payouts to members after each financial year.

The Minister said that the Fund must always keep in mind that its foremost priority was to provide for workers upon retirement.

Kava shortage a boost to farmers

The current shortage in the supply of kava is good for farmers because they could get high prices for their produce, the Fiji Kava Council said. Commenting on the current shortage of kava in Fiji because of the reduced production, the Council said when supply was low and demand high, the price of the product would increase. The Council said that there had been a boom in sale of kava for most kava dealers as a result of the political campaigns and rallies being held by political parties where kava is consumed.