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This blog is brought to you by Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, a financial advisory services and consulting company based in Suva, Fiji.
To contact the authors of this blog, please call telephones (679) 3342719, (679) 3544897 or e-mail info@gilbert.com.fj.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New tanks for LPG

A local gas company can now meet the increasing demand by hotels and taxis after it received five new tanks from Australia.

Fiji Gas said the tanks, which were shipped into the country yesterday were part of the F$4 million infrastructure investment of the company.

The new tanks would help store Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) at Lautoka and Suva, with two tanks for Suva and the remainder for Lautoka.

Due to the increasing demand at hotels for hot water and cooking, Fiji Gas said it was important that there was a place to store gas. The tanks would also cater for the demand of LPG powered taxis.

Note from GV : A two bedroom home rental in Suva with seaviews and High Speed Internet Access together with a Personal Computer provided complimentary for guests' use, can be viewed and booked through links at the right hand side of this blog. A 20% discount on the rate per night is being offered for August and September 2006 with a 10% discount for advance bookings for December 2006 and January 2007. To contact us directly, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call +679 3396427.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Airports Fiji awaits Cabinet approval of master plan

Airports Fiji Limited is committed to develop its two international airports, at Nadi and Nausori near Suva, to world-class standards and will spend about F$200 million in the first phase of its 20-year master plan. The company is awaiting Cabinet approval of the master plan.

F$5 million needed for bio-diesel factory

About F$5 million is needed to set up a bio-diesel factory, whoch would help reduce import of fuel. The factory, which will be fully established next year, will also buy locally produced coconut oil.

Funding is to be sourced from interested businessmen with a small-scale production already started in Suva with an investment of F$0.25 million. Production costs are yet to be worked out.

Bio-diesel fuel is environmentally friendly.

Note from GV : Take advantage of a 20% discount on the rate per night on our two bedroom home with seaviews in Suva. The promotion is for the months of August and September and only has the period 10 to 20 September 2006 available. The home has High Speed Internet and a Personal Computer provided complimentary for guests' use. Check out the links at the right hand side of this blog, e-mail us at gilbert@connect.com.fj or call +679 3396427.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Coconut wood factory sets tall target

A F$1 million coconut wood factory in Savusavu is expected to rake in F$150 million in foreign exchange when it is fully developed. The second stage of the project by year four would see it being set up as a fully fledged commercial company.

Set up by the Coconut Industry Development Authority (CIDA), the factory is expected to have about 31 staff members when it is fully operational by year end.

The total hardwood flooring market worldwide was worth more than F$10 billion last year.

In the second phase of the project expected to start by 2010, the number of jobs would increase to 140. By year 10, the factory was expected to employ around 1,400 people.

CIDA said farmers were being encouraged to enhance their production and only log trees that were not bearing fruit and were more than 70 years old.

Savusavu Mayor welcomed the investment saying it would create more jobs.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Telecom group ready for competition

Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH) is confident about operating in a competitive environment. ATH said it would follow the example of former monopoly companies elsewhere which were now thriving in more open and competitive markets.

The company said its 42% increase in profit to nearly F$35 million (for the 2006 financial year) was testimony to the strength of ATH and its ability to adapt effectively to the changing and uncertain environment.

The company said one of its biggest challenges since its formation was when the Commerce Commission decided on substantial reduction in call charges last October.

Since then the company has maintained its commercial viability which was achieved through cost-cutting, improved control of expenses and efficiency, and more aggressive and innovative marketing.

The company said its business forecasts to March 2007 were encouraging.

Note : Business travellers coming to Suva can check out details and book a two bedroom home with seaviews, High Speed Internet and a Personal Computer provided complimentary for guests' use, through links at the right hand side of this blog. Our direct contacts are telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Be added to our database of experts

We are inviting professionals in all areas to be added to our database of experts which we will draw on to conduct consultancies in Fiji and in the Pacific region. If you are technically and professionally qualified with a minimum number of 8 years in your particular field of expertise, you can be added onto our database by e-mailing us a copy of your resume. In your e-mail, let us know which areas and what types of projects you could contribute effectively to. Our e-mail address is gilbert@connect.com.fj or call us on telephone +679 3396427. If you wish to write to us, our address is : Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, PO Box 14844, Suva, Fiji.

Ministry to accelerate reforms

The Ministry of Public Enterprises is aiming to accelerate the pace of public enterprises and public sector reforms within the next 24 months. This followed a Cabinet decision based on a submission made by the Public Enterprises Ministry.

The Ministry took into account two reviews undertaken recently by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

The reviews concluded that there was considerable scope in a fuller review and reorganisation of government ministries, departments and agencies to yield greater reductions in personnel emoluments and improvements in efficiency and service delivery.

The Ministry emphasised that Government needed to accelerate the selling off of State-owned enterprises that were performing below par and were of no strategic interest to the State.

It said the combination of public-private partnership and full divestment could create a "new frontier" for accelerated economic growth.

"On meeting this objective, it is extremely important that a clear and firm commitment from the outset is made by Government to the broad framework and sequencing of reforms in terms of reorganisation, corporatisation, divestment/privatisation", said the Ministry.

Note from GV : We are adding onto our database of experts that can be drawn on to conduct consultancies in Fiji and the Pacific region. If you wish to be added to our database, please e-mail a copy of your resume to us at gilbert@connect.com.fj. or call +679 3396427 to discuss.

Foreign income vital : Chamber of Commerce

Remittances from Fijians working overseas contribute to the development of the country and the economy, says the Fiji Chamber of Commerce.

The comments were made in response to the World Bank Report - At Home & Away : expanding job opportunities for Pacific Islands through labour mobility - released on Monday.

The report said providing off-shore seasonal employment for Pacific Island workers would contribute to the region's development.

"These remittances are necessary for our survival because the services sector, which includes tourism and the labour export, are important to the economy. We are renowned for being hard workers but highly skilled jobs in other countries are taken by locals of that particular industry. However, seasonal workers are not inclined towards these sorts of jobs," the Chamber said.

Workers such as peacekeepers, nurses and rugby players have gone abroad for better opportunities and had created a nice in the labour market.

The Chamber said Australia and New Zealand were nitpicking Fiji's professional and skilled workers.

The Chamber said seasonal work should be in all sectors but the doors of developed neighbours remained closed to small nations. He said such a stance had repercussions such as instability in countries, which was already happening in the region.

The Chamber adds that if the labour mobility and market access were opened up, regional economies would stabilise.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Maintain "safe" tourism image

The Fiji Visitors Bureau believes that the terrorist threats in the United Kingdom last week and the very strict restrictions imposed on the travelling public would not have much effect on tourism in Fiji.

The Bureau has, however, called on everyone to ensure that Fiji maintained its image as being one of the safest and friendliest destinations around the world.

While the Bureau said Fiji would enjoy some benefits from the threats and increased security measures in the United States and UK, it would not be very significant.

The Bureau said that "while 10% of travellers have opted to adopt a 'wait and see' approach, 90% of travellers are still determined to travel despite the security measures and threats. .... It seems that people have accepted the fact that terrorism is part of everyday life now."

The Bureau added that the only thing the local industry could do was to continue to portray Fiji as one of the safest and best destinations.

Note : For business travellers coming to Suva, a two bedroom home with High Speed Internet and a Personal Computer provided complimentary for guests' use, can be viewed and booked with links at the right hand side of this blog or call direct +679 3396427; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gillier Group starts tourism projects

With the tourism industry a major contributor to the national economy, plans are underway for two more major developments.

The Gillier Group, a company that specialises in hotel, resort and residential projects, has started on two tourism projects geared to rake in more foreign dollars.

The Pacific Palm Project includes the development of the Pacific Palm Marina Resort at Pacific Harbour and the Nadi Integrated Resort Development Project to build what will be known as the Blue Island Resort.

Gillier Group executive chairman, Bruno Gillier, said both the projects would cost over F$3.4 billion.

Mr Gillier said the Pacific Palm Project would have 9 stages that involves pre-selling of bure, over-water bungalows, hotel rooms, freehold lots and mansions. With development taking place on 219 acres of freehold land, Mr Gillier said they had plans to have four international hotels on the Pacific Palm Project.

He said stages 1 and 2 had been sold. The two hotels would be the Le Royal Meridien and the Rydges Hotels and Resorts.

Le Meridien, based in London, England, is a global hotel chain, a part of Starwood Resorts & Hotels Worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 120 luxury upscale hotels in over 50 countries.

The Rydges Hotels & Resorts is an Australian owned hotel chain with over 30 hotels in Australia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

He said the Accor and Hilton hotels had yet to confirm participation in the project.

The Pacific Palm resorts would have a 1,000-seat convention centre catering for small, medium and corporate clientele and will be available for meetings, functions, as well as executive boardrooms, business centre and serviced offices.

He said it could also be used as a cinema. There would be shopping centres, restaurants, cafes, children's fun park and many other facilities.

Note : For those coming to Suva, a two bedroom home can be viewed and booked with links at the right hand side of this blog or call direct +679 3396427; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj. A 20% discount on the rate per night is being offered for August and September 2006 with a 10% discount for early bookings for December 2006 and January 2007.

Airstrip planned for Rakiraki

A new airstrip will be built in Rakiraki to fly in the increasing number of tourists to hotels and resorts on islands off Rakiraki.

The Rakiraki Chamber of Commerce said plans had been in place for a domestic airstrip to cater for flights from Nadi to Rakiraki. The Chamber said the move was a positive one as it would accommodate increased tourism activities in the area.

The airstrip will be located next to Ellington Wharf. There are also plans to upgrade Ellington Wharf to meet the demands from the rise in tourism activities and to be able to cater for cruise ships and other vessels carrying tourists.

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. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

10% discount for early bookings for December 2006 and January 2007

We are offering a 10% discount for early bookings for December 2006 and January 2007. The promotion will see our rates fall from F$140.00 a night to F$126.00 a night. The discounted rate will apply for a maximum number of 4 guests. Any additional guests will incur a fee of F$20.00 per night per guest. A refundable damage deposit may be required for certain guests. Please note that the home has a Personal Computer and Broadband Internet access. This would be a good opportunity for business owners who wish to relocate to some warmer climate during the duration of their winter. Click on links at the right-hand side of this blog to view details and photos of the rental home. For direct contact, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephone +679 3396427. Contact us early to take advantage of this offer.

Minister urges action on mahogany

There is a need to develop the mahogany industry to ensure its economic sustainability and to generate maximum benefit to the landowners, shareholders and the public, says the Minister of State for National Planning.

The Minister of State said mahogany had the potential to become one of the largest contributors to the country's economy.

The Minister of State said that Fijian people needed to be trained to add value to such a high quality commodity adding that Fiji should be exporting mahogany cabinets, doors, tables and chairs with Fiji's own unique designs and styles. He referred to the success of Pacific Green which specialises in furniture made from coconut timber.

The Minister of State said that there was a need to train indigenous landowners to enable them to effectively participate in the mahogany industry and in the entire process from logging, loading, cartage, milling and downstream activities.

He added that landowners - due to lack of capital and appropriate skills - could not participate meaningfully to derive maximum benefit from their valuable resource.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Investment trend is upward : Capital Markets Development Authority

The number of investors in the capital markets continue to demonstrate an upward trend, says the chairman of the Capital Markets Development Authority (CMDA). The CMDA made this comment in its 2005 Annual Report released yesterday.

"It is encouraging to note that our people are taking savings and investment culture to new heights year after year", said the Report. However, it said participation in the capital markets on a per capita basis remained well short of the potential.

Market capitalisation of the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) exceeded F$1 billion for the first time in 2005.

On a way forward, the Report said the creation of an enabling environment, the introduction of legislation that was fully supportive of the development of the capital markets and promulgating policies that carried the development motive would be best.

Added to that would be the introduction and maintenance of policies that further enhanced and strengthened investor confidence and integrity in the growing capital markets.

For further reading of the report, log onto www.cmda.com.fj.

Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Furniture outlet to meet demand

The high demand for locally-made high quality furniture has led the A Jan Group of Companies to open its first showroom in the Central Division. Called Timber Sports and located at Flagstaff, Suva, the showroom displays upmarket furniture made from palmwood and indigenous raw timber. The company said the move towards producing locally manufactured products came after the company realised the lack of an upmarket furniture retail outlet. Some of the items at Timber Sports include chairs, beds, rocking chairs, couches, conch shells, lamps and even locally produced leather accessory items like purses, wallets and suitcases. Visit the outlet at Flagstaff, Suva, to have a look at what is available.

Friday, August 11, 2006

11 days of special promotion period for rental home remaining

A further 15 nights of the special rate period for the two months August and September 2006 has been taken up leaving only 11 nights remaining. For those that are interested in the offer, a discount of 20% on the nightly rate of F$140.00 is offered for our furnished two bedroom home with seaviews in Suva. The rate offered will be F$112.00 per night and will include the following :
  • up to 4 guests;
  • ADSL Broadband Internet access with a Personal Computer;
  • welcome supplies of coffee/cocoa, tea, milk, sugar, bathing soap, dishwashing liquid, garbage bags and paper towels;
  • daily newspapers provided for guests staying over 2 weeks;
  • 3 free sessions per week at the Hyndai Fitness Centre or the National Aquatic Centre for guests staying longer than 4 weeks.
The remaining period is from 10 September to 20 September 2006.

The home is also currently available for the duration of the Melanesian Festival Arts to be held in Suva from 2 to 11 October 2006. The rate for that period will be F$140.00 a night and will include the same features as offered above.

For more details on what the home offers and photos of the home, please click on links at the right hand side of this blog. For contact, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call +679 3396427.

F$10 million construction boom at Nadi

The approval of building projects worth more than F$10 million in the first six months of this year indicates that Nadi town is experiencing a boom in development.

The Nadi Town Council expects the level of investment in the town and its surroundings to increase over the remainder of the year as property values in the town continue to rise.

Nadi mayor, Salesh Mudaliar, said "real estate value in Nadi is rising along with the cost of development. Now the cost of constructing a building could be 10 times more than what it used to be just a few years ago. But even though costs are rising, the level of development is just an indication of the growth what Nadi is experiencing."

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. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Central bank amends economic forecast

The economic growth for this year has been revised upward to 3.1% because of improved prospects of certain industries. The Reserve Bank made the announcement after the bank's macro-economic policy committee met.

The Reserve Bank's slightly better economic growth projection was overshadowed by its concern about the faster growth of imports which is expected to grow by 17.5% this year. This is because of the higher payment for mineral fuel, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and food.

The upward revision of economic growth from 2.7% projected last April was a result of improved prospects from industries which the Reserve Bank said contributed to the slight improvement in economic growth. These included transportation and communication, agriculture, forestry and fisheries and the finance sector such as insurance, real estate and the business sector.

Reacting to the upward revision, the Fiji Chamber of Commerce was conservative about the figure saying factors used in the calculation needed to be ascertained. The Reserve Bank of Fiji had earlier come under scrutiny after some large margins of error were noted in its projections and forecasts.

Note from GV : Business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Date set for COLA payout

The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) payout for civil servants will be made on 24 August 2006. The payment will be 2% of current salaries. Another 2% COLA payout will be made on 21 December 2006. More payments are expected next year with 4% in March 2007 and 4% in December 2007. Last month, the Finance Ministry said the payout was an expensive exercise and it was the price to pay for the Government and unions' industrial relations partnership agreement that had been signed earlier. Note : For business travellers coming to Suva, a two bedroom home can be viewed and booked with links at the right hand side of this blog or call direct +679 3396427; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Electricity Authority posts F$1.24 million profit

The Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA) posted F$1.24 million profit before tax for the last financial year.

The company said the profit was made despite the cost of diesel generation for the year increasing by F$17.5 million from 2004 and the one-off impact of the Monasavu settlement. Increasing fuel prices had a severe adverse impact on the company's profitability.

High diesel prices caused the total fuel bill in 2005 to be F$67.4 million compared to F$49.9 million the previous year and F$19 million in 2001.

Fuel costs alone accounted for almost 48% of FEA's total operating costs in 2005.

Provident Fund to review management fees

The Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) may have to review its management fees after the Lower House was told that the 8% fee charged was for administrative costs. The Minister for Finance said for a F$30 billion portfolio, F$300 million for management fees was preposterous. The Minister also added that FNPF would address calls to include Cost of Living Adjustment for ordinary pensioners. He added that sustainability of funds in this respect was the main issue in the review.

Vodafone loses injunction bid

Vodafone Fiji's bid for an injunction against the Government to prevent the Communications Ministry from approving new mobile phone licences to other telecommunications companies has failed.

The development is the result of the Fiji Court of Appeals decision yesterday to refuse the application for an injunction, which, it said, was premature.

As a result, Government and Vodafone will contest the issue of whether a new licence can be granted to allow competition in the mobile phone market.

It is understood that two telecommunications companies including Digicel, wish to enter the local market.

Vodafone had taken the Ministry to court claiming that it has a 13-year exclusive licence and the Ministry was not allowed to issue a new mobile phone operating licence to any other telecommunications company.

Government hopes to resolve the issue before the end of the year.

Note : For business travellers coming to Suva, a two bedroom home can be viewed and booked with links at the right hand side of this blog or call direct +679 3396427; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Advanced Valuation Techniques Workshop, Tanoa International Hotel

An Advanced Valuation Techniques workshop will be held on 24 August 2006 at the Tanoa International Hotel, Nadi. The course presenter is Peter Simmons, Director, Simmons Corporate Finance Limited, NZ.

Enhance your skills in understanding :
  • different valuation methodologies;
  • assessing discount for lack of marketability and control;
  • liquidity issues impacting on valuation;
  • estimating the cost of capital;
  • premium for control issues;
  • industry rules of thumb;

via case studies and open discussions.

Who should attend? General Managers, Directors, Financial Controllers, Chief Executive Officers, Group Senior Accountants/Managers, Securities Brokers/Investment Advisers and other licensed intermediaries operating either in the public or private sector.

When? 24 August 2006, 9am to 5pm.

Where? Tanoa International Hotel, Nadi.

Fee : F$200.00 (VIP) per person, includes lunch and refreshments.

Places are limited. Register early with Pravinesh Singh, Capital Markets Development Authority, telephone +679 3304944, fax +679 3312021 or e-mail info@cmda.com.fj.

Note from GV : Anyone interested in buying an existing business can use our company's services to value that business. Our contacts are Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Guards hope to work in Lebanon

More than 200 Fijians are queuing up for private security jobs in Lebanon while Government is pleading for caution before Fiji citizens seriously consider taking up such risky assignments. A private security company is awaiting details of a contract to secure the deployment. This comes are a forecast by the Reserve Bank of Fiji that remittances to Fiji from residents or former residents of the country working abroad will top F$500 million this year. Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tanoa embarks on F$50 million investment

Tanoa Hotels is to embark on a major investment of F$50 million this year. The Group said this would see the construction of a new 150-room beach resort on Cuvu Harbour, opposite the Shangri-La Fijian Resort. Groundwork on the project had already started.

A major development was the addition of a 9-storey tower consisting of 78 rooms at the Tanoa Plaza, in central Suva. The addition of the tower was to supplement an increased demand for first-class facilities in the capital city. The Tanoa Tower will boast new state-of-the-art conference facility, plus rooms and apartments.

The Group has plans to increase the room inventory at the Tanoa Waterfront with construction of an additional block of 24 rooms.

The expansion is expected to cement the Group's commitment to the tourism industry in Fiji and further demonstrate its long-term vision of Fiji being a unique destination for international and local visitors.

Note : For business travellers to Suva, a two bedroom home can be viewed and booked with links at the right hand side of this blog or call direct +679 3396427; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj. A 20% discount off the rate per night is being offered for the months of August and September 2006. See earlier post in this blog.

ICT neglected, Fiji Chamber of Commerce says

The Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on Government to encourage growth of the information communication technology sector.

In its budget submission to the Finance Ministry, it said ICT was the most neglected sector in the Strategic Development Plan, yet it held the key to unlocking and unleashing the potential of all the nine sectors in the plan.

It said an entirely new incentive package was required for the sector.

Comparisons were drawn with India who now controls 50% of global IT enabled services. India's growth has been attributed to its reform program which began 15 years ago, focussing on the growth of its IT capability in particular.

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. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Monday, August 07, 2006

World Bank to fund ethanol study

The World Bank will fund a feasibility study on prospects of ethanol production with details to be finalised by the end of the year.

There was some concern, however, on why it took 11 tonnes of cane to produce a tonne of sugar. This, concerned parties felt, was due to the inefficiency of the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the great loss it incurred on large quantities of sugar.

The problem has been attributed to milling inefficiency.

The sugar industry is one which Government has been trying to boost after the upcoming loss of preferential prices offered by the European Union.

Free Unit Trust Investment Seminar

Attend a free investment seminar organised by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) in Suva, Wednesday, 9 August 2006. Details are as follows :

Getting Started in Unit Trust Investing - and learn about :
  • the basic features of unit trust investments;
  • the benefits and risks of investing in units trusts;
  • how the unit trust market in Fiji operates;
  • some simple analytical tools on how to pick unit trust investments.
Seminar is scheduled from 5.15pm to 6.45pm at the Tanoa Plaza, Corner of Gordon and Malcolm Streets, Suva.

Call and register your names with the Authority on +679 3304944, fax +679 3312021 or e-mail info@cmda.com.fj.

Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our principal is an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Exporters told to focus on quality

Exporters were told that if they wanted to survive the phenomenon of globalisation, they had to become more competitive, efficient and focussed highly on quality.

The exporters community was told to stop relying on the comfort of preferential treatment and to start formulating their responses to the open global market.

Speaking at the launch of the 2006 Prime Minister's Exporter of the Year Award at the Tanoa International Hotel, Nadi, the Minister for Commerce said as a result of the continued widening gap of Fiji's balance of trade, they had formulated the first national export development strategy to counter the situation.

The Minister said the strategy would address areas crucial to export development such as product research and development, trade facilitation, market access and access to trade information.

The strategy would be implemented with the aim of strengthening international competitiveness and productive capacity of Fiji's export community.

The Minister said that exporters in Fiji should face reality and start fostering a culture of healthy competition.

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. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Kontiki acquires stake in Pleass Beverage

The Kontiki Capital investment banking and funds management group announced yesterday a consortium it had assembled has acquired a 30% stake in Pleass Beverage Equipment Limited.

Kontiki Partners, Kontiki Growth Fund Limited and Kontiki Fund Limited together paid F$1.26 million for the stake.

Kontiki Capital said they were pleased to have made the investment, which followed many years of discussion with the founders of Pleass.

Warwick Pleass founded the company in 1996. Mr Pleass has been instrumental in the company's success and remains as managing director, with the family collectively retaining 70% of the company.

China pumps in F$2.8 million cash grant

Government yesterday received a total cash grant of F$2.8 million from the Chinese Government.

The Fiji Foreign Affairs Minister received the grant after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart to discuss bilateral issues.

The funds received will be used for special projects around the country, although, the projects are yet to be decided.

Fiji also asked the China for assistance to help the ailing garment industry as competition has increased from other big countries. China has offered to assist in providing training for those involved in the garment industry. Details of the training to be provided will be discussed further.

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. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Workshop for prawn farmers

Creating awareness on the mechanisms of freshwater prawn farming for commercial purposes was the aim of a workshop held in Suva on Wednesday.

The workshop at the University of the South Pacific focussed on how participants who were from various backgrounds could broaden their knowledge on freshwater aquaculture. The workshop was organised after the organisers felt that people were eager to learn more about prawn farming.

The organisers said that after the workshop participants would be able to decide if they wished to do prawn farming either on a commercial basis or on smaller scale.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Free Investment Seminar in Suva

Attend a free investment seminar organised by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) in Suva, Saturday, 5 August 2006. Details are as follows :

Getting Started in Share Investing - and learn about :
  • the basic features of share investments;
  • the benefits and risks of investing in shares;
  • how the share market in Fiji operates;
  • some simple analytical tools for selecting shares, when to buy and sell shares.
Seminar is scheduled from 9am to 12.30pm at the Tanoa Plaza, Corner of Gordon and Malcolm Streets, Suva.

Call and register your names with the Authority on +679 3304944, fax +679 3312021 or e-mail info@cmda.com.fj.

Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our principal is an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

New rates will ease burden : Consumer Council

Lower phone charges will ease the burden on consumers created by rising inflation and fuel prices, says the Consumer Council of Fiji.

Welcoming the drop in charges for local calls and high-speed Internet, the Council said the reduction was timely as it will "allow customers to save whatever little money they can and be able to spend it on other items".

See earlier post on reduction of Telecom's local call rates and Internet Charges.

Note : For those visiting Suva, a two bedroom home can be viewed and booked with links at the right hand side of this blog or call direct +679 3396427; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj. A 20% discount off the rate per night is being offered for the months of August and September 2006. See earlier post in this blog.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

State prepares new national development plan to 2011

The Government will prepare a new national development plan for 2007 to 2011. The plan will draw information and recommendations from the World Bank report, Asian Development Bank report and other relevant documents.

The preparation of the five year strategic plan is to follow a similar process and framework to that used when developing Fiji's strategic plan for 2003 to 2005.

The preparation will include extensive consultation with government agencies and stakeholders and will look at various sections of the draft plan. Those will be discussed and submitted together with recommendations on key economic and social issues.

The culmination of the consultative meetings will be a national economic summit planned for next month.

Macroeconomic targets during the period will include an economic growth rate of 5%, an annual inflation rate between 2% and 3%, foreign reserves to be between 4 and 5 months of import cover, budget deficit to be less than 3% of GDP, debt level to be less than 50% of GDP and an increase in investment to 25% of GDP.

The Minister of Finance said that as part of the preparation of the new strategic plan, the 20 year plan for Fijians and Rotumans would be reviewed together with the Blueprint initiatives. The 2020 Plan and the Blueprint initiatives is a package of affirmative action programs designed to lift the standard of living of Fijians and Rotumans in various sectors of the economy.

A Committee would be formed to make the review.

Consumer Council warns of real estate agents

The Consumer Council of Fiji is concerned about the increasing number of real estate-related complaints it has received. It said it had identified some agents who had cheated clients of thousands of dollars but failed to renter their services as promised.

The Council has renewed calls for consumers to exercise diligence when choosing a real estate agent.

Taiwan hopes to strengthen partnership with Fiji

Taiwan hopes to strengthen partnership and cooperation with the country by providing assistance to grassroots communities.

Speaking at the handover ceremony for an educational project in Tavua, Taiwan's representative to Fiji said his government hoped to work with the Great Council of Chiefs in helping villages and communities in the country.

The representative said it was his government's wish that all grassroots communities in the 14 provinces of Fiji benefited from the exchange of friendly and cultural cooperation.

He said his country had projects that could be introduced to improve the lives of people in Fiji.

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. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

30 police officers head for Sudan

Thirty police officers will leave for peacekeeping duties in Sudan in two weeks. The group would replace the 30 officers who have just returned from Sudan. This is part of a large number of Fiji men and women who are working overseas.

This year the Reserve Bank of Fiji has forecasted that remittances from Fiji or former Fiji residents working overseas and sending money to Fiji to surpass F$500 million, the highest ever so far.

About 300 soldiers are serving in Sinai and more than 100 are in Iraq. There are 30 police officers in Liberia, 20 in Kosovo and 7 in Sudan. More and more women are taking up caregiving work in the United States of America.

In the meantime, the Australian and New Zealand governments are having discussions with the Fiji government to open up a work scheme whereby Fiji residents will be granted temporary work visas to work in those two countries after which they will be required to return home. Canada had recently indicated that it would also be willing to consider having such a work scheme with Fiji residents taking up work there.

Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

F$90 million to help sugarcane farmers

About F$90 million has been earmarked to help those in the sugar industry diversify into other cash crops.

The Ministry for Agriculture said the Alternative Livelihoods Project was developed by the Asian Development Bank last year with the aim of finding suitable commodities that will help absorb the effects of the expected drop in sugar prices. The project intends to see those affected by the ailing sugar industry branch out into other forms of agriculture, with a cottage industry approach.

The Ministry said that 20,000 families in Macuata, Vanua Levu, and the Western Division, Viti Levu, could be direct beneficiaries as well as another 10,000 people employed as cane cutters.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Telecom cuts call charges

Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL) has reduced call rates for residential customers from 15 cents to 12 cents a call and businesses will pay the same rate for 60 minutes from today.

Announcing the new charges, TFL said intra-region calls would be cut to cost the same as a local call charge of 12.27 cents per call for residential customers or 12.27 cents per 60 minutes for business customers.

Previously TFL's intra-region call rates (calls made within exchanges in the Central/Eastern, Western or Northern regions) were 15.42 cents per minute.

The same rates will apply for pre-paid services such as Telecard, Quickdial and EasyDial.

Internet charges will also fall from today for TFL's subsidiary, Connect Fiji. The Internet package of 128/64 kilobytes, which has a monthly data capacity of 750 megabytes, will fall from F$45 to F$39.50 a month.

TFL said it recognised that customers today require affordable high-speed Internet services and it hopes that the reduction in rate will see more customers using the Internet.

The Fiji Chamber of Commerce welcomes the reduction in call and Internet charges and said it would benefit the private sector especially small businesses.

Note : Business travellers to Suva can enjoy a two bedroom home with seaviews and Internet access (together with a Personal Computer) which is currently offering a 20% discount its rate per night. The home can be viewed and booked with links at the right hand side of this blog or call direct +679 3396427; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Insurance scheme benefits farmers

Sugar cane farmers now have a scheme to fall back on if they encounter financial difficulties with regard to medical and life insurance.

The Sugar Cane Growers Council with Dominion Insurance and Marsh & McLennan is offering the cheapest insurance policies in the market to ensure the farming community have some form of support once they encounter problems.

The Council said since the scheme was established last year, 525 farmers have become members of the Council's Health Care Insurance Programme. Since establishment, the Council has paid out more than F$17,000 in insurance claims along with 10, F$140,000 death claims to farmers.

The Council said the decision to implement such a scheme was to provide farmers with some form of security if they fell ill or lost a member of the family. The scheme also encourages family members to continue farming once a farmer or close relative dies.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Fiji Development Bank raises lending rates by 1%

The Fiji Development Bank raised its lending rates by 1% per annum from today, 1 August 2006. The Development Bank said the increase due to the increase in the Reserve Bank of Fiji's Minimum Lending Rate has become inevitable due to the current fluctuation of the cost of funds in the market. Customers of the Development Bank have been urged to contact their Business Managers if the rate rise affects their repayment schedule or to discuss any other related issue.

Suva City Council sees "Fiji's Darling Harbour"

Reclamation work will begin by year-end at a Suva foreshore spot for that could be Fiji's Darling Harbour, according to the Suva City Council. The Council said among a few highlights of the project would be upmarket buildings like apartments, retail outlets, a marina and an artificial beach. The Council's aim is "to make the project the Darling Harbour of Suva where people get lots of room to move around in without having to travel far from Suva". Earlier this year, the Council sold 15 acres of its Suva foreshore property to the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF). The FNPF is currently expanding its property asset base in certain areas adjacent to Suva's central business district where it believes there is tremendous potential in the near future. The Fund had earlier purchased the Grand Pacific Hotel and the Holiday Inn which also lie on the Suva foreshore. These new buildings are expected to make more changes to the Suva skyline in addition to buildings currently being built such as the Tapoos City, the MH Plaza, the MidCity Complex, the Kadavu Provincial Council building, the Great Council of Chief complex and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority complex. Note : For those visiting Suva, a two bedroom home can be viewed and booked with links at the right hand side of this blog or call direct +679 3396427; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj. A 20% discount off the rate per night is being offered for the months of August and September 2006. See earlier post in this blog.

Air Fiji promises better services with new addition

Air Fiji has promised to provide better services with the delivery of a new aircraft for its flights to Tonga, Tuvalu and on domestic routes. The Convair 580 aircraft started operations last week. It carries 50 passengers and will fly between Suva and Nadi. The Convair 580 is spacious and has more leg room than a Boeing 737 aircraft.

F$2.5 million IRB funding for Fiji Rugby

The International Rugby Board will make a F$2.58 million three-year grant for Fiji rugby, in addition to the F$500,000 funding given annually from Government. The IRB grant will be used to develop the sport in the country, starting with the set up of a High Performance Unit this year, setting up training centres and gymnasiums, and contracting local players. The IRB has already looked at where gymnasiums could be built, in addition to sites including Churchill Park Lautoka, Lawaqa Park Sigatoka, Prince Charles Park Nadi and the Post Fiji Stadium Suva. Funding from the IRB is expected to continue after the initial three years in an attempt to bring tier two countries up to the level of tier one nations and to compete with teams such as Australia, NZ, England and Ireland.