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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, October 31, 2006

Atlantic Packaging Company turnover falls

The financial year ended 30 June 2006 saw the turnover for Atlantic Packaging Company Limited, a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, fall to F$5.3 million from over F$6.1 million recorded in the preceding financial year. Likewise, profits fell from F$0.31 million to F$0.15 million over the same period.

The fall in turnover and profits have been attributed to a continued deterioration in demand from the garment industry, although this has been countered by an increase in supply to the Biscuit Company of Fiji.

Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is a licensed investment adviser and has over 17 years experience in the financial sector in Fiji. Our company has now consulted to two major financial institutions and has provided legal advice to a subsidiary of the Fiji National Provident Fund. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Fiji investment laws relaxed

Foreign investors will be allowed to enter restricted activities without local shareholding. However, approvals will be at the discretion of the Minister responsible for investment.

The Foreign Investment Act defined "reserved" and "restricted" activities. Agriculture is listed as a "restricted" activity and a foreign investor that wishes to do business in the agricultural sector must have at least a 40% equity held by Fiji citizens.

The amendment now provides the Minister responsible for investment discretionary authority to allow a foreign investor to invest in "restricted" activities without local equity participation.

The Minister's evaluation and approval will consider issues such as " the business history of the foreign investor; history of the foreign investor; the financial ability and capacity of the foreign investor; the management systems being brought in; the expertise and level of technology to be introduced; the type of capital intensive agro-businesses coming in; the need for such investment; and any other relevant matters.

The 40% local equity participation will remain for activities such as market gardening, cane farming and less capital intensive forms of farming.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that need assistance to invest or set up business in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary approvals, licences and permits. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Colonial National Bank makes F$8.89 million after tax profit

Colonial National Bank has made F$8.89 million after tax profit for the financial year ended 30 June, 2006. The bank's key disclosure statement published in the Fiji Times of 31 October 2006, stated that the bank's return on assets was 1.64% with a total assets growth of 20.9% from the preceding financial year. The bank's capital adequacy ratio was 10.9% compared to a minimum of 8% required by the Reserve Bank of Fiji. No comparative figures were given for the bank's performance over the preceding financial year. Note from GV : Business travellers to Suva who need accommodation can try out our two bedroom home. The home has a Personal Computer and Broadband Internet access provided for guests' use as is going at a promotional rate of F$112.00 per night (for the entire home). Check out links at the right hand side of this blog for details on amenities and view photos of the home. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

HFC Finance achieves record profits

HFC Finance announced a record profit after tax of F$1.926 million for the year ended 30 June 2006. Out of the profits, shareholders have announced a total dividend of F$1.7 million for the period. Highlights for the period included :
  • strong growth in Gross Loans & Advances offset by lower margins;
  • total operating expenses maintained within 58.9% of total revenue;
  • steady decline in total impaired assets during the year;
  • general and specific provisions maintained at 150.8% of total impaired assets;
  • capital adequacy ratio at 15% within the Reserve Bank of Fiji's requirement of 10% for credit institutions.

During the second half of the last financial year, the company concentrated on completing its new premises in Suva and has just moved into it. The new premises is on top of the old premises in the old Velop House in Suva.

The company is building up its commercial lending area and is also in the process of applying for a full banking licence from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

HFC Finance is wholy owned by the Fiji National Provident Fund (75%) and Unit Trust of Fiji (25%). As such profits made by the company is ploughed back to members through to Fiji National Provident Fund and to investors with the Unit Trust of Fiji.

To view more of what the company has to offer, please visit the company's website on www.hfc.com.fj.

Government looking for investors to develop Batiri (Citrus) Farm

Government is looking for investors who can commercial develop the 845 acre Batiri (Citrus) Farm. The farm was a government commercial company leased out to Food Processors (Fiji) Limited. Government will provide the investor with technical assistance. The Agriculture Ministry says that the land is ideal for farming sheep, citrus, sugar cane and other crops. Applicants who have a proven track history and experience in commercial agriculture farming will be looked at. Other conditions required is that they will provide jobs to locals and will provide new training and skills to local growers. The investor is required to introduce new technology, expertise and ideologies in commercial agriculture farming that could be hived off to local farmers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Pacific Plan okayed

Pacific Island leaders have considered the Regional Institutional Framework Review and agreed to establish a taskforce to work through identified issues and report back to the leaders at next year’s Forum Meeting in Tonga.

Leaders tasked the Forum Secretariat to proceed with an exercise aimed at refining its core priorities and to progress the recommendations relating to the establishment of regional offices or the placement of staff members in each member country.

The report, Pacific Plan Action Committee (PPAC), on a new regional institutional framework was commissioned by a project team that proposes significant changes to existing regional institutional arrangements.

Through these changes, it envisages the creation of a framework to facilitate further development, implementation and monitoring of the Pacific Plan.

Regional organizations under discussion are agencies represented on the Council of Regional Organizations in the Pacific (CROP) and include the Fiji School of Medicine, Forum Fisheries Agency, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Pacific Islands Development Programme, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Note from GV : For consultancy on financial sector related aspects of the Pacific Plan, you can contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, for assistance. Our contacts are : e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Post Budget Forum Breakfast

To be held on Saturday, 4 November 2006, from 8.15am to 10.30am, Lali Room, Holiday Inn, Suva. The forum offers the opportunity for the Prime Minister and several of his key Cabinet ministers to espouse key strategies and features of the 2007 national budget. It also enabled stakeholders in the private and public sectors to present the Government instant feedback on its national budget.

Limited seats available at F$550.00. For bookings, call Talica on telephone +679 3314333 or e-mail ceo@fbcl.com.fj.

Note from GV : If you need accommodation in Suva, try out our two bedroom rental home. The home has seaviews and is equipped with a Personal Computer and Broadband Internet access for guests. Check out details through links at the right hand side of this blog. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

ANZ nets A$113 million profit from Pacific Banking

ANZ has recorded an annual profit of A$113 million for the year ended 30 September 2006 from its Pacific Banking business. The profit was a 26% increase on results of the previous year.

The bank said the result indicated the underlying strength of Pacific economies and market share gains in a number of countries including Fiji, Papua New Guinea and American Samoa.

The bank said it had improved its services by opening more branches, refurbishing existing branches, installing more ATMs and introducing Internet banking to a number of Pacific countries.

It has also expanded its rural banking program to Tonga, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

ANZ said that its’ financial performance would enable it to make further investments in the coming years for the benefit of customers, staff and communities throughout the Pacific.

Note from GV : For banking and finance related advice for your company or business, contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are : e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephones +679 3396427 and +679 9921427.

Minister puts pressure on public enterprises

Public enterprises have been told to increase profitability, become investment-oriented and not depend on government funding.

The Minister for Public Enterprises said that because of the pressure on the national budget caused by the high cost of borrowing, expenditure needed to be curtailed.

There has been much concerns recently about Government debt. Some feel that Government is crowding out the other likely borrowers who could put debt to more better use that would benefit the economy.

Check out our other entry on the Post-Budget Forum next week to get an opportunity to ask Government questions regarding its 2007 National Budget which will be delivered next week.

Kontiki invests in Yaqara venture

Yaqara Group Limited (YGL), a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, and Kontiki Capital have reached an agreement on raising capital for Yaqara.

The agreement will cover Kontiki’s ongoing involved with YGL in the management, corporate advisory and financing of YGL’s Yaqara Studio City development.

Kontiki Capital is to manage and participate in the underwriting of a redeemable convertible note issue for YGL of up to F$4.5 million at a price of F$0.50 per note.

The issue would be via a rights issue to existing shareholders and underwritten through Kontiki Capital and a syndicate of investor groups. The notes will be convertible to shares at a significant discount to the current share price to encourage maximum shareholder and local institutional participation.

Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, for assistance. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is an Investment Advisor licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji). To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rules-based trade is best for small states

A rules-based trading system is critical for the survival of small developing countries in the global economy, says Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and World Trade Organisation regional workshop being held at the Warwick Hotel at the Coral Coast in Fiji.

Mr McKinnon said such a system was needed for small developing nations in the face of competition from larger developed states with greater economic and political clout.

He said that the successful completion of WTO's Doha Development negotiations would pave the way for developing countries to benefit from globalisation.

Mr McKinnon said special and differential treatment of products from developing countries and aid for trade would develop national capacities for economic growth and sustainable development.

The Commonwealth Secretariat is working closely with the European Union to improve the trade policies and negotiating capacity of African, Caribbean and Pacific nations.

The Secretariat does this through a $20 million project which involves the establishment of a network of senior ACP advisers based in the secretariats of regional organisations who coordinate networks of analysts attached to trade ministries in individual countries.

The technical assistance is vital to enable small island developing states, including those in the Pacific, to overcome their inherent vulnerabilities.

Note from GV : Our firm, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, provides consultancy services on banking, finance and financial sector issues. We have consulted to two major financial institutions in Fiji and provided legal advice to the subsidiary of the largest financial institution and pensions provider in Fiji. Our principal has over 15 years experience as a central bank regulator and policy maker and over 1 and a half years experience as a consultant. To contact us, e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Fiji Government 2007 Budget Address next Thursday

The Fiji Government's 2007 National Budget will be presented next Thursday, 2 November 2006, in Parliament. For foreign investors, it will be interesting to see what incentives will be offered by Government to attract them as well as whether there will be further enhancements to the foreign investment approval process which has been a source of frustration for foreign investors and their local counterparts/consultants in recent years. Government has been working on its incentives scheme and on improving the approvals process in recent years to facilitate investment by foreign investors in Fiji. Check out this blog next Friday, 3 November 2006 to see what is on offer. Note from GV : Foreign investors that need assistance with setting up business in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, as their local consultants. Our contacts are : e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Recipients of remittances urged to use them wisely

The Fiji Chamber of Commerce has urged recipients of remittances to use the money wisely. Remittances are funds sent by Fiji residents or former residents working or living abroad. Remittances now contribute about 7% of Fiji's Gross Domestic Product.

The Chamber referred to Tonga and Samoa where remittances contributed 40% and 30% of GDP respectives and where people relied of their relatives overseas to pay for utility bills.

The Chamber said that Fiji should take steps to avoid such a trend and should now educate and build the capacity of recipients of remittances to invest their money in income-generating activity.

Note from GV : Remittances from Fiji residents or former residents working or living abroad is expected to top F$500 million this year. Our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, provides investment and business advisory services which can be of benefit to recipients of such remittances. To contact us for advice, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Fiji to benefit from Pacific Leaders Forum Meeting

Fiji stands to benefit from the Pacific Leaders which begins in Nadi today.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said the people of Fiji would benefit from all issued discussed by the 16 heads of government attending the week-long meeting.

He said, firstly, being the hosts, paved the way for a new age in regionalism, regional cooperation and regional economic integration after Fiji came in to host the meeting when Tonga could not as a result of the death of their King.

The Minister said that depending on the different issues whether it be marine, trade, HIV/AIDS, medical and social issues, benefits would accrue to Fiji.

He said Fiji had resources and expertise to fill in positions that would be created by the Regional Institutional Framework Review outlined under the Pacific Plan.

The Minister said that apart from the Pacific Plan, discussions on issues like security, ocean policies for Fiji, fisheries and disease would benefit the nation.

Note from GV : Read our other blog, http://promotingsuva.blogspot.com/, which provides information on what is happening in and around Suva and provides an alternative for accommodation for visitors in a two bedroom rental home with a Personal Computer and Broadband Internet access provided complimentary for guests' use.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

187 soldiers ready for Iraq duty

A Fiji Military Forces contingent is due to leave for Iraq on Friday, 27 October 2006, to take on peacekeeping duties there. The 187-member contingent will replace another group there that returns home.

Note from GV : Remittances from Fiji residents or former residents working or living abroad has been increasing phenomenally. This year, it is expected to top F$500 million. Our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, provides investment and business advisory services which can be of benefit to recipients of such remittances. To contact us for advice, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Fiji Sugar Corporation records F$1.7 million profit

The Fiji Sugar Corporation, a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, has recorded a F$1.7 million profit in its latest financial year, after a F$5 million loss the previous year. The turnaround was despite a reduction in revenue and before equity accounting of investments, impairment charge and income tax.

The Corporations' operating revenue fell to F$235.2 million compared to F$242.7 million last year. This was primarily due to a fall in sugar production that was a result of lower cane production.

This is a pivotal year for the Corporation as it begins its reform program instituted by Government with aid from the European Union.

Note from GV : Individuals or companies that require investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is an investment advisor licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji). To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Fiji next week

The 37th Pacific Islands Forum Meeting will be held in Fiji next week. Trade and security matters will top the agenda at the meeting, according to Fiji's Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The Ministry said that the issues were part of the Pacific Plan program which is the main issue to be discussed.

Other issues will include :
  • the Oceans policy;
  • other social issues;
  • SPARTECA (South Pacific Regional Trade & Economic Agreement);
  • RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands); and
  • technology.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, will also attend the meeting. He is expected to hold talks with Commonwealth Pacific leaders and the Forum Secretariat on a wide range of issues including ongoing technical aid programs and further assistance for the implementation of the Pacific Plan.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

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Yaqara lease to boost cattle farming

Cattle farming for local consumption is expected to get a boost once paperwork for lease of Yaqara is complete by the end of the year.

California-based cattle ranch operator, Rolls International/Harris Ranch, won the bid ahead of three other tenders earlier this year to take over Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited, a company listed on the Suva Stock Exchange.

The two American companies would lease the Yaqara farm as part of a private and public partnership in an effort to boost cattle farming for local consumption.

Yaqara Pastoral Company yesterday issued its first dividend cheque of F$245,000.00 to Government. The dividend payout was possible due to favourable weather conditions and an increase in royalty from Fiji Water which drills for water on Yaqara land.

The dividend payout was 50% of the company's after tax profits.

With the input expected from the American companies, investors in this company should look forward to good returns as the company benefits from the lessee' expertise.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

MoneyGram money transfer services opens in Fiji

Westpac Banking Corporation and Carpenters Fiji Limited have teamed up to provide MoneyGram money transfer services at Morris Hedstrom's supermarkets throughout Fiji.

Westpac said that the bank constantly tried to find ways to develop its products and services. The new venture, it said, extends the banks product portfolio while meeting the needs in the market.

Carpenters Group said MoneyGram was a good choice for the company. He said the service would be available at 12 MH supermarkets over the next few weeks with MH Superfresh, Tamavua, Suva, being the first to make it available yesterday.

MoneyGram will also be available through every Westpac branch Fiji wide.

MoneyGram said customers would not need a bank account or credit card to use the service. Only an identification card would be required.

The services will allow money transfer locally and abroad and will benefit Fiji residents or ex-Fiji residents working overseas who wish to send money to Fiji.

Note from GV : Fijians working abroad can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, for assistance and advice with regard to setting up business or investing in Fiji. We can carry out due diligence work and also arrange all the necessary approvals, licences and permits to be able to set up business in Fiji. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is an Investment Advisor licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority in Fiji. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephone numbers (679) 3396427 or (679) 9921427.

Survivor Series to inject F$6 million into community

Popular TV Series, Survivor, will inject F$6 million direct into the community by creating at least 230 jobs and hosting 250-production crew at Vunivutu in the interior of Labasa.

Government said welcomed the production team saying that the "Look North Policy" of Government was slowly taking shape and Vanua Levu will receive international recognition through the country's expanding movie industry.

Government said income would be generated through lease money, employment and purchase of goods and services including local produce.

It is expected that when the Fiji Survivor program goes on air, the country will attract invaluable international publicity, particularly for tourism.

Up to 230 local people are employed in administrative and office work, catering, security and land clearance. These workers will expect to earn a total of approximately half a million dollars in wages over 3 months.

Landowners will receive significant income from the temporary leasing of their land with infrastructure build (including a boat landing at Wainikoro, Labasa) to remain for use by locals after the production.

Government said that 7 overseas productions were completed in the country so far. This is expected to rise to 13 by the end of the year. It estimates that more than F$150 million worth of economic activity was created through these projects.

Note from GV : Fiji provides incentives to businesses that wish to operate in the area of audio visual production. Foreign investors that wish to get more information on this with the intention of getting a licence to operate in the area or to shoot a movie or TV series in Fiji can contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, by e-mail on gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Free Unit Trust Investment Seminar

A seminar, "Getting Started in Unit Trust Investments", organised by the Capital Markets Development Authority (CMDA) will be held on Wednesday, 18 October 2006, at the Tanoa Plaza in Suva. The seminar runs from 5.15pm to 6.45pm. Admission is free. Participants will receive a free CMDA educational pack including the CMDA Personal Wealth Calculator CD. Register now by calling telephone +679 3304944 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 contacts are : telephone +679 3396427, +679 9921427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bureau sees export potential of agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors

The agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors have the potential to raise Fiji's level of exports and fill the vacuum created by the decline in sugar and garment exports, says the Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau (FTIB).

The Bureau made the comment while announcing that the commendation awards for the three sectors at the 2006 DHL Prime Minister's Exporter of the Year Award, had been upgraded to full awards. This was after FTIB recognised the export potential of the three sectors.

This year's event to be held at the Sofitel Resort and Spa, Nadi, next month will have the theme, "Export Competitiveness : Our Key to Growth".

Note from GV : Business travellers who travel with their families can rent our two bedroom home with sea views in Suva. The home is fully furnished and has a Personal Computer and Broadband Internet access provided complimentary for guests' use. A 20% discount on the rate per night is being offered as a promotion until 31 March 2007. The applicable rate per night is F$112.00. To check out more details of amenities provided and photos of the home, pls click on the appropriate links at the right hand side of this blog. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

F$23 million energy project launched

A cogeneration project between Tropik Wood Limited and its overseas partners has been launched as the future for fuel and energy consumptions during the groundbreaking ceremony for the company's F$23 million upgrade.

The project is expected to provide an annual revenue of about F$9 million per annum, providing an increased 72 million units of electricity to the Fiji Electricity Authority's national grid.

The project is a clear example that alternative sources for power need to be pursued given current high international oil prices and the increase in electricity production costs for the Fiji Electricity Authority.

Tropik Wood currently generates 3,000 kilowatts with FEA buying 600 of that from the company. With the expansion of cogeneration, Tropik Wood would be in a position to generate 12,300 kilowatts and supply up to 72 million units of electricity to the FEA national grid.

The project will provide additional employment to about 30 people during construction and an additional 10 people to operate and maintain the plant.

The project is the first of several bio-fuel electricity projects for Tropik Wood who aims to be a serious electricity producer.

The partnership formed between Tropik Wood and its overseas business partners include Siemens Limited providing the steam turbine generators, RCR5 Easteel Energy Systems providing the boiler, water cooling towers from Cooling Towers New Zealand Limited and civil and structural works will be done by Engineering Design Fiji Limited. The project development and management partner for Tropik Wood is Ajynk New Zealand Limited with Westpac Banking Corporation providing the loan required in purchasing the equipment as well as the payment for other services associated with the cogeneration project.

Note from GV : Fiji provides incentives to businesses that wish to operate in the area of alternative and bio-fuel production. Foreign investors that wish to get more information on this with the intention of getting a licence to operate in the area can contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, by e-mail on gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Plan to revamp water management approved

The reorganisation of the Water and Sewerage Department has been endorsed by Government, paving the way for hte establishment of a Fiji Water Authority (FWA).

The FWA will be established under the Public Enterprise Act of 1996 and would allow the newly-formed body to manage and oversee all water supply operations.

Problems facd by the current Water and Sewerage Department is to be resolved through extension and improvement in infrastructure and reforms through implementation of the Water Supply Department Reorganisation Charter.

The primary purpose of the reorganisation has been given as to improve the efficiency of the entity and give it clear commercial and social objectives.

The FWA will be managed by a Board of Directors who will appointed by the Minister of Public Enterprises.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fijians living in Austrlia encouraged to invest in Fiji

Fijians living in Australia have been encouraged to invest in Fiji by the Prime Minister, Mr Laisenia Qarase.

The PM made the invitation while speaking at the Fiji Day celebrations in Brisbane, Australia, last Saturday.

The PM noted that remittances to Fiji from locals living and/or working abroad was more than F$300 million last year and said that this was expected to be higher this year.

He then invited Fijians living in Australia to invest in Fiji. "Some of you may also be interested in joining former residents who have decided to invest in commercial projects in Fiji," the PM said.

Note from GV : Fijians working abroad can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, for assistance and advice with regard to setting up business or investing in Fiji. We can carry out due diligence work and also arrange all the necessary approvals, licences and permits to be able to set up business in Fiji. Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is an Investment Advisor licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority in Fiji. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephone numbers (679) 3396427 or (679) 9921427.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fiji troops set for Iraq

One hundred and thirty four soldiers are expected to leave for Iraq next month. The contingent will be part of the rotation group to Baghdad. The soldiers will march into camp this week for a three-week training program after which they would take a week's break before leaving for Iraq.

Note from GV : Fiji citizens working abroad has grown over the years with remittances to Fiji from wages earned by them working abroad set to top F$500 million this year, a record for the country. How this money is being spent is not clearly ascertained.

For this reason, our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, provides services that include giving investment advice to clients that need assistance on how to invest surplus funds. With the high interest rate environment currently existing in Fiji, it is a good time for investors to invest. Other trading partner countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America also have high interest rates at present. However, before one considers investing in those countries, it would be best that they seek professional advice. To contact our company, you can call (679) 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Singapore tops trade with Fiji

Singapore became Fiji's main source of imports ahead of Australia, New Zealand and the United States last year, according to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The Minister said Fiji exported more to the US than it imported from there - a trend that was barely applicable to most of Fiji's other trading partners.

The comment was made after the Government was criticised for introducing a Bill to amend the Value Added Tax Decree to exempt chanceries built in Fiji from VAT, including a proposed F$60 million American Embassy complex at Princes Road in Suva.

"We have a trade surplus with the US. Trade figures for 2004 and 2005 showed some decline in our exports because of the expiry of the garment quota, but it was still substantial for 2004 exports to the US at F$184 million. We import from the US only F$102 million so we have a trade surplus for 2005", the Minister said.

The US is ranked 5th among Fiji's import markets. Exports to the US consists of taro, tuna loins, Fiji Water, knitted garments, sugar and molasses, fish, mahogany, cassava, vegetables, coral, noni, vanilla, biscuits and coconut furniture.

Import from Singapore being top of the list of Fiji's imports may also be attributed to the fact that Fiji imports fuel from there.

Note from GV : Check out our two bedroom rental home in Suva with seaviews. The home has a Personal Computer and Broadband Internet access provided complimentary for guests' use. A promotion now being offered sees a 20% discount given for all bookings up to 31 March 2007. Details are available through links at the right hand side of this blog. To contact us to enquire or book the rental home, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call (679) 3396427 or (679) 9921427. Christmas 2006 and New Year 2007 is currently available for rent.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Price of cars that chew too much fuel should be increased

The price of cars that chew too much fuel should be increased as part of efforts to promote energy conservation, according to the import management adviser of the Forum Secretariat based in Suva, Fiji.

The adviser said that the Fiji Government should implement such measures while it secures alternative energy sources.

He said Government needed to get serious about energy conservation efforts and suggested that measures needed to be implemented in the short term so that consumers would spend less on energy.

The adviser said that there were no other options but to increase the prices of cars that consumed large amounts of fuels.

He said that any effects of such measures would be better than having increases in the cost of basic necessities such as the fuel surcharge for electricity rates and the increase in postal charges.

The price of oil is now more than US$60.00 per barrel compared to US$35.00 per barrel in early 2004.

The adviser said that countries like Fiji were vulnerable to such price volatility and the lack of access of appropriate mechanisms to mange exposure to, and the effect of further unfavourable price mechanisms.

Bank of South Pacific Limited plans to buy out Habib Bank's operations in Fiji

The Papua New Guinea based Bank of South Pacific Limited (BSP) has plans to acquire the National Bank of Solomon Islands and Habib Bank Limited in Fiji.

In a statement, the bank said the relevant agreements for sale and purchase of both banks had been executed. Both agreements required several conditions to be satisfied including regulator approvals by the Bank of Papua New Guinea, the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands and the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

BSP said that both prospective acquisitions were the result of negotiations conducted over a considerable period of time.

The acquisitions are in terms of BSP Board's strategic vision for expansion in the Pacific and the desire of the Board to better utilise the strong capital adequacy and strong capacity of the BSP balance sheet. The acquisitions would also diversify the BSP geographical risk profile and long-term revenue generation capacity.

BSP expects that the Solomons and Fiji acquisitions would be finalised within the next three months to allow adequate time for due diligence, meeting the many conditions precedent and obtaining regulator approvals.

Note from GV : Our principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, has over 15 working experience as a central bank regulator at the Reserve Bank of Fiji. Companies intending to scope out the banking environment in Fiji or wish to get assistance to put through an application for a banking licence can use our services. We can assist with due diligence work for any proposed acquisitions. Our contacts are Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, PO Box 14844, Suva, Fiji; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone (679) 3396427.

Sailors invest in eco-resort on Vanua Levu

A couple who has sailed to more than 150 countries has decided to make Vanua Levu home and are investing their life savings on a eco-friendly farm stay with six bure (Fijian traditional house).

The Palmlea Farms Bamboo Bures and Bistro Resort at Tabia/Naduri Road, Macuata Province, on Vanua Levu will be ready to receive visitors before Christmas.

Joe and Julie Smelser first came to Fiji 13 years ago and after spending 7 months in the country trying to repair their boat, they made up their mind to make the country their home. They bought 30 acres land on which they are building the resort and preparing farms to plant fruits and vegetables not available locally.

The Smelsers said they were not in the country to make a retirement home or make money but were here to stay permanently. They said Vanua Levu had a lot of potential to expand with its serene nature and friendly people.

Joe, an architect and builder, is overlooking the construction of the six bure while Julie is looking after the financial side with her business management background.

The couple said that after travelling around the world they were sure they wanted to settle in Fiji. The choice to settle in Vanua Levu was made while they were in Lautoka and a lot of friends suggested that they visit the Friendly North.

Julie said Naduri was an ideal place because it was bright and sunny, not hot and humid and neither did it rain much there.

The couple's property overlooks the open Macuata coastline and is surrounded by Indian settlements and Fijian villages.

They couple aim to give their visitors a touch of local tradition and culture and the local delicacies. They added that their accommodation would offer an escape from the busy world to serenity and tranquility with scenic beauty in every direction.

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.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Private sector investment in Fiji substantial

Private sector investment in the country is substantial, according to the Fiji Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber of Commerce made the comment on the latest statistics provided by the Bureau of Statistics which stated that the total estimated value of work put-in-place during the second quarter of 2006 was F$75.6 million, of which F$61.4 million was for work done in the private sector while F$14.2 million was for work done by the public sector.

With many upcoming projects and construction work to be completed this year, the Chamber said the figures should increase by the end of the year.

Among the major projects behind the construction boom are three new complexes in Suva which are the Tappoos City complex, the Midcity complex, and the Carpenters Group's Morris Hedstrom's complex.

Fiji TV buys out Fijian Holdings Limited shares in Compac

Fiji Television Limited has acquired 100% shares in Communications Pacific Limited (Compac) from Fijian Holdings Limited. Compac's core business is in sales and services of radio, television, communications products with transmission towers located around the country.

Fiji TV said acquiring the business fits well with its vision of being the best communications business for Pacific communities. The company said that Compac will enhance its current operations by opening up more opportunities in the broadcast communications business. The plan is for Compac to focus on offering broadcast engineering and related services in Fiji and the Pacific region.

Fijian Holdings Limited acquired Compac in 2000 as a strategic investment into the information and communication technology sector.

Note from GV : Business travellers to Suva can book a two bedroom rental home with sea views for accommodation. The home has a Personal Computer and High Speed Internet Access provided complimentary for guests' use. A 10% discount is being offered for all bookings up to end January 2007 with the applicable rate being F$126.00 per night. Check out details on amenities provided and photos through links at the right hand side of this blog and contact us on e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

Flour Mills of Fiji's profits fall

Flour Mills of Fiji, a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange in Suva, Fiji, has recorded a fall in profits in its latest financial results for the year ended 30 June 2006. The company said a major cause of the reduction has been increased competition.

Profits before tax fell to F$1.6 million in the year to June 2006 compared to F$1.8 million made in the corresponding period last year.

The company said as a result of competition there was a decline in sales with the company losing and then regaining market share. High wheat prices during the last financial year and the Prices and Incomes Board not granting the company a much-needed price increase resulted in the less than favourable financial results.

The price increase was finally granted in August 2006 from which the company expects to have improved performance in the financial year to June 2007.

The increase in use of flour in-house, namely in the company's biscuit factory, had helped the company avoid losses. This would be further complemented with the commissioning of a noodle plant later this year.

A diversification into the snack food market also looks promising for the company. The company has started snack exports to Pacific Island countries and has plans to export to New Zealand and Australia.

Flour Mills of Fiji has subsidiary companies such as the Biscuit Company of Fiji, the Rice Company of Fiji Limited, Pea Industries Limited, the Atlantic Packaging Company Limited, FMF Snax and DHF Limited.

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, October 03, 2006

Inconsistencies in interpretation of investment incentives need to be sorted out

Inconsistencies in the interpretation of investment incentives must be ironed out to encourage more investment in Fiji, says the Prime Minister.

The PM told the National Economic Summit last week that the lack of a single publication setting out full details of investment incentives was a problem for investors. "The gap needs to be filled. There must be clear, unambiguous explanations of what exactly is available and the procedures for application", the PM said.

Specific attention would be given to incentives for agricultural exports and should include provisions for investors to source good and services locally.

Resolutions from the Summit included the need to urgently accelerate reforms, sustain a politically stable environment, address the duplication of education policies which impacted on the labour markets and provide a definition of poverty in the Fiji context.

It also agreed to look into the establishment of appropriate jetties for the rural islands and to better police shipping services.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that need assistance to obtain approvals, licences and permits to set up businesses in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are by e-mail on gilbert@connect.com.fj or by telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Fiji urged to pursue alternative energy

Fiji has been urged to continue to investigate and exploit the possibilities of renewable energy as electricity consumption and rate increased as a result of the rise in world fuel prices.

It was said that apart from reducing Fiji's reliance on imported fuels, alternative energy sources would help stimulate economic growth by curbing the Government's deficit levels.

The comment was made Dr Paresh Narayan of Griffith University in a paper on electricity consumption and GDP nexus for the Fiji Islands which was presented at the National Economic Summit held in Suva last week.

The paper said that like most developing countries, Fiji required large volumes of energy for producing goods and services and in most non-oil producing countries, the energy demand was met by large quantities of imports.

Note from GV : Government is offering incentives to foreign investors and other businesses that wish to pursue business in producing alternative forms of energy. For more information and assistance, contact our company Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or on telephones +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Government urged to put pressure on Australia and NZ regarding labour program

Government has been urged to put pressure on Australia and New Zealand over the proposed unskilled labour program which is being discussed between the countries.

The comment was made at the National Economic Summit last week after the Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor revealed that personal remittances were playing a huge role on the country's economy and had helped the country's balance of payments position.

A suggestion was made that unskilled labour could go and work in Australia and New Zealand rather than far away places such as Iraq and the Middle East. However, it was observed that the two neighbouring countries merely took our skilled workers - something which the country could not afford.

It was suggested that this amounted to a huge drain of human capital which was worth more than the aid that the two countries provided to Fiji.

Air Pacific's regional airline ready for services

Air Pacific is about to begin its regional service under subsidiary, Pacific Sun, by the end of October 2006.

Pacific Sun said work had been completed on Pacific Sun's first aircraft - an ATR42-500 purchased from Air Mauritius for F$9 million.

The airline is awaiting approval from the governments of Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Tonga and had already started recruiting pilots and flight attendants for the new service. Pacific Sun expects to fly twice to each of these three countries weekly. The two new aircrafts will also be used to service domestic flights once the company had the approval of local authorities.

The company is looking at hiring pilots from Mount Cook Airlines, NZ to start off the service before it recruits locals.

Another aircraft will be delivered in December 2006.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Pacific leaders to discuss ways to achieve Millenium Development Goals

A workshop in which ways to achieve the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) will be discussed will open today at the Tanoa International Convention Centre, Nadi.

The workshop will focus mainly on planning and the development of pro-poor policy and the budgeting framework.

It brings together governments of the Pacific island countries to foster a greater understanding of how countries could align national plans, strategies and budgets to achieve the MDGs.

There would be about 100 delegates from the Asia-Pacific region including senior government officials, representatives from UN agencies, academics and specialists in areas of poverty, governance and other issues.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Civil service reform plan discussed

A roadmap for civil service reforms was discussed at the National Economic Summit in Suva over the past few days. This is part of the Draft Strategic Development Plan for 2007 to 2011.

The comments were made by the Prime Minister in reply to a comment by the Leader of Opposition that the Summit failed to fully address the one item that would make or break government finances and performance in the long term which was the size of the civil service.

The Public Service Commission said that Government was also addressing the issue in a different way through its aims at trying to reduce the operating costs of government from 11% to 7%.

There have been a lot of discussion and criticism recently over the size of the civil service and the inefficiencies in government bureaucracy.

Part of EU aid to help farmers

F$8 million of the F$350 million provided by the European Union to revive Fiji's ailing sugar industry would be used to assist farmers during the restructure. The main aim of the restructure is to improve cane yield and production to meet world standards. The money provided by the European Union will be invested into the sector over the next 8 years.