Investing a minimum of nearly 600 thousand US dollars in dairy……….the New Zealanders couldn’t do it at Navua on better land than is available in the east.

Fiji farming leader doesn’t expect tax incentive will have much impact

Posted at 03:39 on 27 November, 2012 UTC

The National Farmer’s Union in Fiji believes there may be problems finding land for those wanting to take advantage of new agricultural tax concessions.

Under the 2013 budget, a tax free area will be created in the east of the main island of Viti Levu and those investing a minimum of nearly 600 thousand US dollars in agriculture will qualify for a tax free holiday for 13 years.

If that investment is in the dairy industry the tax holiday will stretch to 20 years.

The National President of the Farmers Union, Surendra Lal, says he doesn’t think there is much opportunity for huge developments

“Most of these pieces of land are tied up, currently tied up with dairy farming, cash crop farming and this sugar cane farming. For any entrepreneur coming with huge investment requiring a large and wide land area, well that is what we have to see whether there is availability for huge development.”

Mr Lal says various incentives have been tried before, but for whatever reason have not generated much investment.

But a local chamber of commerce believes the area is wide open for investment and that the incentives will give the required push for development

News Content © Radio New Zealand International           PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

$200 million profit for NZ Roading Company may finally give us some usuable roads.

Higgins wins Fiji road contract worth $200m

Manawatu roading firm Higgins will net about $200 million over four years after winning a contract to maintain 6000 kilometres of roads in Fiji.

The contract, which starts next year, will see the company maintain roads, bridges, signs, road markings and respond to emergencies for an area which covers two-thirds of the Viti Levu island.

Higgins competed against 28 other companies for the contract, which will last for four years with a right of extension for either one or two more years.

Managing director Bernard Higgins said about 15 New Zealanders would be based in Fiji at any time, with about 150 Fijians contracted.

The contract was worth about $200 million, which Mr Higgins said would be money well-earned.

“We have got to work hard for it.

“People think working in Fiji is like paradise, and it is at the resort island, but where we are working it is not like that at all.

“It’s a big challenge for our staff to go over there and fit into the environment.”

Many of the roads were unsealed, while others ran high into mountains, he said.

“We went for a drive last Sunday over 220 kilometres to look at roads, and the average speed was under 30kmh.

“That’s how rough they are.”

The contract, which was in the works since May this year, was negotiated with Fiji’s prime minister and minister of roads Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Mr Higgins said he had a positive outlook on the project.

“The Fijian Government said to us that they have to be able to get buses to the end of the roads so children could get to school.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on improving roading and infrastructure to help improve education ability.”

The project would also give some Fijians a chance to improve their skills, he said.

“We will use jobs like these to give opportunities to our staff, especially some younger ones, and we will be bringing Fijian people with potential here for training.”

The weather conditions in Fiji would help to cover slower patches in New Zealand, Mr Higgins said.

“A lot of our work with bitumen and road sealing, which we can’t really do in July, we will be able to do in Fiji.”

In a statement, Commodore Bainimarama said the contract was good for Fiji. “A critical role for [Higgins] will be to pass on their expertise to local workers and companies.”

Look South………. “the roading work done by Malaysian and Chinese firms in Fiji has been disastrous”

Track record hailed as key to NZ success in winning Fiji roading contracts

Posted at 02:51 on 22 November, 2012 UTC

New Zealand’s track record in construction in Fiji is being hailed as the reason multi-million dollar roading contracts have been awarded to three New Zealand companies.

The comment precedes the interim government’s formal announcement of both the contract budgets and the names of the successful companies, under a new scheme to outsource the work of the Fiji Roads Authority.

The president of the New Zealand Fiji Business Council says the political impasse between the two countries over the past few years has prompted Fiji to take a Look North approach.

But Rick Reid says some of the roading work done by Malaysian and Chinese firms in Fiji has been disastrous.

“In fact one of the companies, I believe, most of the machinery’s sitting on the side of the road up towards Rakiraki with the keys sitting in the ignition and they just walked away, just walked away from the contract. They said it was too hard. So New Zealand companies, especially in the construction industry and in road building, have got a very good name.”

Rick Reid says it’s a thrill to see the friendship that has built up between Fiji and New Zealand over many years prove to be worthwhile.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International           PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

More Chinese problems as cash injection fails to materialize………

Vatukoula Gold mulls legal action as Xintai fails to complete subscription

9:23 am by Philip WhiterowVatukoula added it will be pursuing its legal rights against Xintai for its failure to meet the terms of its signed subscription agreement.Vatukoula added it will be pursuing its legal rights against Xintai for its failure to meet the terms of its signed subscription agreement.

 

Fiji-based gold miner Vatukoula Gold (LON:VGM) is take legal action against Chinese firm Shengen Xintai International after it failed to complete a £10.3 mln cash injection.

Existing shareholder Zhongrun International Mining has stepped in to replace Xintai and will now subscribe for 20 mln new shares at 33p to raise £6.6 mln for Vatukoula.

Xintai announced in August it would buy 13 mln shares at 51.65p, a 60% premium to the market price at the time, and issue a £3.2 mln convertible loan note to the gold miner.

But after one extension last month, Vatakoula today said it had become clear Xintai cannot complete the agreed subscription in the time frames previously announced.

Vatukoula added it will be pursuing its legal rights against Xintai for its failure to meet the terms of its signed subscription agreement.

The new shares issued to Zhongrun represent 17.01% of the enlarged issued share capital and on completion its stake in Vatukoula will rise to 24%. Zhongrun originally invested £5.4 mln for a 9% stake in April.

Dave Paxton, Vatukoula’s chief executive, said: “The board is disappointed that Xintai failed to complete its subscription agreement but is very pleased to welcome the investment of Zhongrun in VGM and looks forward to continuing its valuable strategic relationship with Zhongrun to assist in the development of the Vatukoula gold mine

Multiple failures by China Railway 5 Company?

Chinese Company warned of closure

07:02 Today

 

Taken from/By: FBC News Report by: Mika Loga

The controversial China Railway 5 Company has been warned that it could face closure if it fails to pay up FNPF contributions for local workers.

The company has been given until next month to comply.

Local workers have lodged complaints against the company to the FNPF for it’s failure to deduct their contributions to the superannuation fund.

A disappointed Water Authority of Fiji CEO Opetaia Ravai says this is not the first time the contractor has failed them.

Ravai says the company is paid millions of dollars by the Authority.

“We once put in a stop work notice because they’re not complying with safety issues. You stop and once you comply then you can start work again. So we are pretty serious what we’re trying to do with them.”

Contracted to the Water Authority, China Railway 5 is obligated to respecting the laws of the country and abide by its rules.

Ravai says despite the company facing problems on the ground, it is not an excuse for it not to pay the FNPF contributions of its local workers.

“If they continue to willfully not provide FNPF deductions for the employee who are Fiji citizens – then they will be taken to task. We have no doubt about that.”

The China Railway 5 Company has only registered 30 of its workers.

It’s been given an ultimatum by the Authority to register the remaining ninety by November.

Illegial operations by China Railway in Fiji get a “we will speak to them” where others get prosecuted.

WAF disappointed with China Railway

07:03 Today

 

Taken from/By: Report by: MIka Loga

Water Authority of Fiji Chief Opetaia Ravai is disappointed with Chinese contractors China Railway Five Company for allegedly failing to pay FNPF contributions of its local workers.

The FNPF has confirmed receiving complaints from employees.

“We are definitely concerned we’ll speak to them in no uncertain terms if they want to operate in Fiji they need to abide by the laws of the land. So we’ll speak to them about this.”

The company is contracted to carry out water and sewerage works.

Another $12 million wasted?

What’s the truth behind FNPF’s $12m land deal at Momi Bay?

FLP Website

Fiji Labour Party has written to the Fiji National Provident Fund seeking information on its decision last year to expend a further $12 million on the failed Momi Bay resort development project.

The FNPF Board spent $12m in July 2011 to buy additional land for residential lots for sale at the Momi Bay complex, work on which stopped in October 2006 after the developer defaulted on loan repayments to FNPF and was unable to pay the contractors and suppliers.

FLP wrote to FNPF last October seeking details on the purchase of the $12m residential lots. The Fund sent a perfunctory response without disclosing any details on the purchase of these lots.

One year later, with little visible activity at the resort, we are pushing for answers again. Obviously, something is not quite right here. Why is the FNPF management being so secretive about the $12m land deal? If all is above board, why are the questions not being answered?

Why tell us in November 2011 that a hotel operator will be appointed soon? But almost a year later, there is still no sign of a hotel operator!

FNPF had invested $99.7m in the Momi Bay development. In 2009, as the first mortgagee, it tried to auction the property, but failed to realize anything near its true value. Following this, the Board decided to write off $55m reducing the value of the property to $44.7m.

In its 2011 Annual Report, it disclosed that it had expended $12m in July 2011 to buy additional land at Momi Bay and this was to be part of the Momi Bay Development.

On 27 October 2011, FLP wrote to chief executive FNPF questioning the absurdity of the Board’s decision to “throw good money after bad”: “To put it bluntly, the purchase of the additional land to complete an incomplete development which did not attract any worthwhile offers when put to auction seems not only absurd but highly questionable as to its actual intent.

“It is a well known fact that over the years the Fund has made investments in projects which have resulted in accumulated losses of around $700m. A number of these projects were government/regime driven such as ATH, GPH, Momi Bay, Natadola Bay etc.

“As a consequence of these ego projects the long term sustainability of the Fund is now at risk and the Board has decided that it must bring in “Reforms” which, in short, means a substantial reduction in pension benefits of the existing and future pensioners…”

In the case of the additional $12m being spent on Momi Bay, FLP reminded the Fund that it had a duty to fully disclose to the public, FNPF members in particular, details of this highly questionable deal.

We sought the following information on the matter:

i. the total area of land acquired

ii. the previous owners/lessees of the subject land

iii. the land area and price paid for each allotment if more than one
property or parcel of land was acquired

iv. on whose advice/recommendation was the land acquired

v. was a due diligence report prepared

vi. the agents, if any, through whom the deal was negotiated and the commission/fees paid to them

FNPF replied on 2nd November 2011 to say that after considering various options, the Fund had decided that the best alternative for it was to complete the hotel and “to immediately sell the residential lots to recover investment. Work has commenced in this regard including the appointment of the Hotel Operator soon.”

It did not provide the additional details sought. Members of the Fund are still in the dark as to how much land was purchased with $12m of their money, who was the land bought from and how much was paid for each lot purchased?

Nor do we know the name of the agent, if any, that negotiated the deal and what commission or fees was paid for it.

It is well known that the Bayleys real estate company had been involved with the sale of the initial residential lots. It had also handled the failed auction of the property in 2009 which had realized a mere $41m bid for the partially completed luxury resort valued, at the time, at about $80m but later written down to $44.7m.

It is now more than a year since the additional land was purchased. Our information is that there is no visible sign of any activity at the resort site.

This week we wrote again to FNPF and its auditors, Pricewaterhouse Coopers seeking further information on the $12m expended and details surrounding the purchase of the land.

FNPF’s silence on the deal is highly suspect considering that the Fund has already frittered away massive sums of members’ money, some $700m, in bad investments.

Fund members are paying the price for such imprudence. In March this year, pension annuity rates were virtually halved for existing pensioners, down from 15-25% while a rate of 8.7% was set for future retirees.

It has left more than 90% of existing pensioners with an income of less than $400 a month – sentencing these seniors to a life of poverty in their old age! Nor will future pensioners be able to retire with dignity on an annuity of 8.7% considering that more than 60% of our workers receive below poverty level wages.

Yet the FNPF board and management feel they can continue to whittle away members’ hard earned contributions without being held accountable for their Ill-conceived investment decisions.

But this is not all. December last year, the Fund signed a partnership deal with Tokatoka Tahau, the Momi Bay landowning Unit (Fiji Sun 25/12/2011). The landowners were jubilant to receive $1.2m in premium from FNPF for a 99-year tourism lease for the resort site. They were also promised education and community development funds, training, business and job opportunities at the “new” resort…

Work on the site was to resume at the end of the second quarter this year. All very well … but one wonders whether these promises will ever be fulfilled!

NJV given the green-light by Govt against the wishes of the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC)

NJV given the green-light by Govt

September 18, 2012 05:20:20 PM

Fiji’s government has given the green light to the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) to recommence all activities relating to special Prospecting License including exploration, project studies and Waisoi Project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) until 2015.

Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama made the decision following the successful rehabilitation of environmental issues raised by landowners earlier this year.

Government in a statement said the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) and NJV have worked in partnership to address landowners’ concerns that enable both parties to develop a cooperative way forward.
“Government is pleased with NJV’s commitment to the rehabilitation works and the new initiatives that have been introduced which demand more consistent dialogue with Government and TNLC on future works (exploration and geo-technical studies including drillings) together with appropriate rehabilitation programs.”
Government and the landowners will meet again once the EIA is completed.
By Indrani Krishna

Sayed-Khaiyum says business people always shy away from participating in Fiji’s political issues……… Too bloody right!….. the quick way to destroy a business in Fiji is to be involved in politics.

Business forum underway

13:03 Today

 

Taken from/By: Supplied
Report by: Ritika Pratap

The second Fiji Business Forum began in Suva this morning.

The private sector and government representatives meet under one roof to discuss ways of improving business, increasing investment and solving problems faced by the business community.

Suva Chamber of Commerce and Industry President – Dr Nur Bano Ali says constant gossip and the coup culture of the past 25 years hasn’t helped Fiji’s business climate.

Ali says as a result of this Fiji is considered a high risk area for business – losing out on important investment.

Meanwhile Trade Minister – Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says some of the views of the business community are unfair given all that’s been done to promote investment in Fiji.

Sayed-Khaiyum says business people always shy away from participating in Fiji’s political issues.

He has called on all business houses to take part in the constitution consultation and also register themselves for the upcoming elections.

The Chamber will put together a submission for the 2013 national budget after the forum.

Australia’s Aid to Fiji will be $65.6million.

Aust announces significant increase for Fiji

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=27061264f14f5eaa58843dec0899a1

Australia has announced a significant increase in its development funding for Fiji.

Director General AusAid, Peter Baxter said that from next month Australia’s Aid to Fiji will be $65.6million which was previously $33.7million.

He said that this funding will help Fiji’s most vulnerable community.

Australia will support the Ministry of Health to strengthen primary health services in order to increase childhood immunization and ensure it stays above ninety percent.

Baxter said that they are also working with the Education Ministry to increase the number of students attending and staying in schools.

In the next five years AusAid will help the Education Ministry with books, stationary, infrastructure and fee grants worth $70,000 which will be for the poor children attending school.

Baxter said that Australia which is Fiji’s largest bilateral donor will provide Fiji with an estimated $100 million in official development assistance in 2012-2013.

Story by: Sneh Chaudhry and Khusboo Singh

A University Report paints a different picture to the official spin.

Economy contracted 8% in the first four months

Fiji’s economy contracted by as much as 8% in the first four months of 2012,according to an assessment report prepared by a team of university graduates on the impact of the devastating floods of January and March.

The study was done after carefully assessing the likely output in the agricultural (including sugar), manufacturing, fisheries, timber, mining, tourism and the retail business sectors.

The floods inflicted heavy damage on the agricultural sector. Sugar is the most badly affected with a likely drop of 35,000 tonnes in sugar exports this year.

Tourism earnings were down by an estimated 35% largely due to devastation caused by the floods and disruption to flights which saw a significant number of booking cancellations. Reduced airline seat and cargo capacity on a number of international routes has also affected tourism and export revenues. Add to this, the recurring problems at Air Pacific resulting in flight delays and cancellations.

The timber and fisheries sectors remained subdued during the period on account of adverse weather conditions.

Manufacturing was down because of flood damage to machinery and factory down time. Disruptions to power supply also contributed to reduced manufacturing output, the report says.

Businesses in Ba and Nadi, worst affected by the floods, remained closed for almost four weeks resulting in loss of wage incomes for thousands of workers.

Some 65 small shops and businesses have closed permanently after the floods – 40 in Nadi and 25 in Ba. The owners attributed uncertain and erratic business environment as one of the reasons for the closure of their business.

“As it is, we are hassled constantly by the Commerce Commission, National Fire Authority, the Health Ministry, Town Council, FRCA, theLabour Ministry who impose conditions which make our survival impossible.

“The business environment has remained depressed for the past three years – we just can’t survive. The floods made things worse,” said one shop owner.

Repair and construction work on damaged infrastructure is expected to be slow on account of lack of capacity and funding constraints, not to mention the absence of a co-ordinated rehabilitation plan.

Gold production increased while the first shipment of raw earth (Bauxite) is about to leave our shores for China. Not much can be expected from Bauxite mining as no processing activity will be done here in Fiji. The risk of permanent environmental damage from strip mining remains high unless stringent restrictions are laid down and rigidly enforced, says the report.

Council for a Democratic Fiji urges caution in investing in Fiji.

Business hazards in Fiji for New Zealand companies

An overview by the Council for a Democratic Fiji
In Auckland
As the Fiji New Zealand Business Council prepares for its June 16th meeting, the Council for a Democratic Fiji (CFDFiji) issues a strong warning about the considerable risks of investing in Fiji.
On the surface, the environment for business in the coup-stricken country might appear to have some appeal. The people of Fiji are as friendly as ever and the military regime of Commodore Frank Bainimarama makes a lot of noise about its pro-investment policies. Bainimarama and his No 1 collaborator, Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum, the Attorney General and Minister for Commerce, regularly pump out propaganda dishonestly painting a picture of a buoyant economy on a strong growth path. This is what will happen at the business council meeting.
Delegates will be told that Fiji is “moving forward”, “modernizing” and “reforming’ and that commercial opportunities abound. They may hear that a “truly democratic” future beckons and that elections are scheduled for late 2014. There is wide scepticism, however, about whether Bainimarama is willing to relinquish power in a free poll.
Any business person conducting a proper due diligence on Fiji designed to protect shareholders and their capital, will uncover a very hazardous landscape, full of potential pitfalls and some unpalatable truths.
The reality is that Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum run a dictatorship that was declared unlawful by Fiji’s Court of Appeal. This was before Bainimarama sacked all the country’s judges and installed a new hand-picked judiciary that has been denounced as lacking independence by many credible international authorities.
Recent investigation by an affiliate organization of the Law Society of the United Kingdom found that the rule of law no longer operates.
This is a crucial issue for all New Zealand investors and firms involved with Fiji. It is just one of the many reasons that an increasing number of prudent business owners and managers from New Zealand treat the country with extreme caution.
Since 2006 when Bainimarama executed a military coup, he and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum have led Fiji into an unprecedented spiral of decline. They have propped themselves up by severe and brutal abuse of human rights and suppressive “decrees” to control and intimidate the population.
More than 200 of these dubious legal devices have been imposed since April 2009 covering a host of topics and issues. These are no more lawful than the regime itself.
Social conditions have worsened dramatically. It is estimated that the percentage of Fiji’s population living in poverty has increased to 35 per cent. Suicides are on the rise and child malnutrition is a problem.
The economy is in a negative cycle, meaning that for much of Bainimarama’s time as “prime minister” it has actually gone backwards. It has not even returned to where it was in 2006.
Recently a respected economist at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Professor Biman Prasad, caused a stir when he spoke of the kind of woeful statistics of failure the regime does not like to hear.
He declared that the medium-term outlook was not encouraging.
Professor Prasad cited Asian Development Bank figures on the ratio of private investment to GDP. This was put at only two per cent for 2011 which underscores abysmally low levels of confidence.
The response from the regime was to roll out a propaganda blitz claiming that Fiji could expect investments in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The people of Fiji have been told similar stories before. The Reserve Bank suddenly announced an upward revision in its immediate growth projections, higher than the impartial forecast of the ADB.
As usual Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum are staying quiet about some of the current international disclosures which further damage Fiji’s reputation and give the lie to their claims about business friendly policies and transparency.
The International Open Budget Survey, which measures budget transparency and accountability around the world, placed Fiji at the bottom of a list of 94 countries. It was bracketed with Iraq, Chad and Equatorial Guinea.
This means there is scant budget information available in terms of expenditure, income, capital projects, infrastructure and controls. The long-suffering taxpayers really have no idea how their money is used. There is fertile ground here for corruption and mismanagement.
During the tenure of the last elected government the Word Bank Group ranked Fiji 35 out of 155 countries for ease of doing business. Under Bainimarama, Fiji has dropped down the scorecard, underlining Fiji’s lack of appeal for investors. In 2012 it has been listed at 77 out of 183 economies, down five places from its ranking in 2011. In the category of starting a business, Fiji went from 105 to 119.
The perception of Fiji as an extremely risky investment location was illustrated very clearly last year when the government had to pay nine percent interest to purchasers of an international bond floated by the regime. This put it into the junk bond category.

In the area of enforcing contracts Fiji has also slipped. The notion of sanctity of contracts as an essential prerequisite for all investors appears to have been abandoned by Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum.
A business which has entered into any contract with the dictatorship should be aware that its position can be compromised at any time leaving it without redress and its shareholders exposed. This raises clear accountability issues for directors and managements of New Zealand companies engaged with Fiji.
Recently, for instance, a decree has been used to cancel contracts for commercial concessions at Nadi International Airport.
The trend is spreading; there are allegations that employment contracts at a university are not being honoured.
Another notorious decree has trashed pension contracts. Pensioners have been left with no legal recourse.
Earlier, legislation interfered with private commercial rights at two tourism projects.
Qantas has found itself at the receiving end of an Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum decree that has affected its role as a shareholder in Fiji’s national airline Air Pacific.
The national debt is high – with contingent liabilities it may be well over 80 per cent of Fiji’s GDP. It is difficult to get a precise picture. But any prudent analysis must take into account the prospects of the regime defaulting on its payments to creditors. A recurring theme in private conversations among Fiji citizens is that the regime is essentially broke. This “coconut wireless” communication is often accurate.
The erratic and arbitrary nature of the Fiji legislative environment is one of the greatest challenges for commerce.
Price control, for instance, has been imposed at whim on thousands of consumer products. Bainimarama has ignored advice from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank, to get rid of this form of regulation because it is a disincentive for investment.
Decrees are not made in line with any cohesive strategy or by any proper process of open consultation. These are normally considered in secret and then simply announced.
Rule by decree means statutes that affect business can be drastically altered without any right of appeal or review. A recent example relates to the huge restrictions on company claims for losses for tax purposes enacted because of the regime’s financial plight. Another is the manner in which Bainimarama designates at will what he chooses to call essential industries.
When a functioning democracy and constitutional rule are restored, all financial and commercial transactions with the regime will be subjected to scrutiny by parliament. Whether they will be honored is a moot point.
This should concentrate the minds of members of the Fiji New Zealand Business Council.

_________________

Air Pacific’s future in doubt. Qantas shares rise after directors recalled.

Air Pacific has been undercapitalised over the years due to a lack of money from the government, which makes Qantas’ investment vital to the airline’s future.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/qantas-recalls-fiji-airline-board-men-20120529-1zhbj.html#ixzz1wQMpxmRz

Only 10-20% of investments announced last year have been implemented but Investment Fiji is targeting to achieve $700m of foreign investment this year and they say it looks favourable.

Challenges delay investment

13:10 Today

Taken from/By: Google
Report by: Ritika Pratap

Investment Fiji says running a business right now does present challenges.

Chief executive Ravuni Uluilakeba says the three biggest issues businesses have to deal with are flooding, funding and running from one government agency to another.

“Normally it takes 12 to 18 months when you look at the implementation – take for example the 133 that we registered last year  the challenge to get them so that going back to the barrier that they face not only for the approval by the 22 government agencies but similarly their funding because these projects that are being done in the country basically the drive is to get everyone to bring in their money to invest.”

Investment Fiji is targeting to achieve $700m of foreign investment this year and they say it looks favourable.

“Favorable Investment” is now 21% of the ammount required for the economy to expand? If Chinese infrastructure investment and the $290million casino is removed we are in an investment recession..

Investment level looks favourable

07:04 Today

Investment Fiji chief executive Ravuni Uluilakeba

Taken from/By: FBC News
Report by: Ritika Pratap

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/2355/investment-level-looks-favourable-

The foreign investment level forecast for this year looks favourable says Investment Fiji chief executive Ravuni Uluilakeba.

Investment Fiji has received a total of 51 investment proposal with a value of $211m for the first quarter of this year.

This is an increase of 7.5% compared to the previous year.

Uluilakeba says with an increase in number of registered projects, it can be said that foreign investors are beginning to have confidence in Fiji.

_“The impact when you look at the positive aspect looks very promising because of the numbers coming in this year and similarly when you compare the trend of registration over the last three year. So those are the critical points that we are looking at especially when looking at two to three quarters down the road.” _

The top five booming sectors include Services, Tourism, Wholesale , Retail and Manufacturing , Agriculture and Forestry.

The new and major investors are mostly from Australia, China, NZ, Malaysia and India.

Investment Fiji is targeting to achieve foreign investment of up to $699m this year.

The truth is that FNPF rushed into this exercise without much thought or expertise.

Delays in FNPF pension payments inexcusable

 

The Fiji Labour Party is absolutely appalled at the insensitivity and utter lack of responsibility FNPF has displayed in its handling of pension payouts.

Daily for the past week, scores of seniors have patiently crowded the Pensions office and walkways at the FNPF head office in Suva waiting for their meager pension payment.

As it is their pension payouts have been reduced by half and now they are being forced to fork out scarce funds in bus and taxi fares day after day in the hope of receiving their payments from the Fund.

All we have been getting from the Provident Fund management in response are empty promises that payout will be made today or tomorrow.

The truth is that FNPF rushed into this exercise without much thought or expertise.

It should have known that handling some 12,000 pension re-registration and payments would be a mammoth task. Even then it just gave itself one month after the cut-off date to handle all the paperwork.

What is the big rush? There is no danger of the Fund going bankrupt tomorrow. If it had to impose this illegal exercise (a breach of contract) on the country’s elderly, it should have at least given itself three clear months after the cut-off date to get all its paperwork in order before imposing the new rates.

FLP calls on the FNPF management to show more sensitivity towards the plight of seniors, the majority of whom are dependent on their pension payouts each month to put food on their tables and meet their other pressing commitments.

Inflation expected to rise to over 9% after flood.

Inflation rate to rise: RBF

Elenoa Baselala
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

THE Reserve Bank of Fiji has predicted the inflation rate to go higher than the 6.2 per cent recorded in February.

In January, the rate was 5.9 per cent.

The central bank said the increase in February reflected the effects of the January floods, which led to higher food prices.

“Risks to the inflation outlook are tilted to the upside, considering the volatility of oil prices associated with the geo-political tensions in the Middle East,” the bank said in its latest economic review.

“Food prices have regained some strength more recently but are expected to decline slightly over the year. In addition, the current moderation in growth by the world’s second largest user of crude oil China is expected to restrain any upward pressure on oil prices.”

However, the bank estimated the inflation rate to moderate towards 3.5 percent by the end of this year.

Inflation is the rise in prices of goods and services. When inflation increases, the purchasing power decreases.

The negative effects of inflation include a decrease in the real value of money and other monetary items over time, uncertainty over future inflation which may discourage investment and savings, and if inflation is rapid enough, shortages of goods as consumers begin hoarding out of concern that prices will increase in the future.

The central bank said investment activity was envisaged to slowly pick-up in the near term which was attributed to a number of upcoming investment projects.

However, it said, recent investment intentions and activities were focused on Fiji’s resource and tourism sectors, suggesting subdued fixed capital formation in other major industries.

Annual growth in broad money supply accelerated in February to 15.4 per cent, from 14 per cent in the previous month.

Yearly growth in net domestic credit was led largely by private sector credit, which rose by 5.8 per cent in February, from 6.2 per cent in the previous month.

Government changes the law to break share/control agreement and effectivly nationalises Air Pacific.

Fiji takes control of national airline from Qantas

Fiji’s military government says it is taking over control of the country’s national carrier Air Pacific from Australian company Qantas

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Fiji’s military government says it is taking over control of the country’s national carrier Air Pacific from Australian company Qantas.

The government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama issued a decree saying that all Fijian-registered carriers must now be owned and controlled by Fijian nationals.

Qantas owns 46.3 percent of Air Pacific to Fiji’s 51 percent. However, according to a Fijian government release, Qantas since 1998 has exercised effective control over the carrier through supermajority and veto rights.

Qantas, which has long sought to sell its stake in Air Pacific, said it would issue a statement later Wednesday.

The Fijian government said in a release that the move would bring it in step with international laws and practices.

In a question-and-answer statement on the move, the Fijian government said it is “false and misleading” to think Fiji is nationalizing the airline and depriving Qantas of its shareholder rights.

Qantas will retain its ownership stake and its right to dividends, according to the Fijian government, but will no longer be able to exercise control over the annual operating budget, the appointment of the airline’s chairman, the addition of new routes or a host of other management decisions.

Fiji claims Qantas has been directly competing with Air Pacific through Qantas’s wholly owned subsidiary, Jetstar.

Air Pacific is responsible for carrying more than 70 percent of visitors to Fiji, the government said, making it a vital part of the tourism industry, which accounts for one-third of the Pacific island nation’s economy

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Air Pacific only valued at $151 million?
It has borrowed more than this off FNPF
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Qantas in 2010 proposed that Fiji pay it F$70 million (US$39.5 million)for its holding in Air Pacific. (46%)  According to a copy of the proposal seen by Dow Jones Newswires, the Australian airline recommended that Fiji could cancel new aircraft orders, sell and lease back aircraft, refinance a plane hangar, and sell the Sofitel Hotel on Fiji’s Denarau Island to help fund the acquisition.

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Some comments from overseas….

1
TT
Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

This may not be a bad thing for Qantas. They can now write off their investment in Air Pacific to zero, and move onto something more profitable (hopefully). The residual issues they need to deal with are:

1. Ensure all Qantas seconded personnel based in Fiji leave the country as soon as practical; 2. Cancel any code-share arrangement between Air Pacific and Qantas; 3. Plan for any alternative emergency landing strips in South Pacific for Qantas flights (especially DFW-BNE), as Nadi airport might not welcome the flying kangaroo as enthusiastically as it used to be.

It is also interesting that The Australian/Dow Jones Newswire put in lengthy article on this news story in their website already! Oh, thats’s right, News Corporation used to own a newspaper in Fiji called Fiji Times… What happened? Hint hint…

  • 2
    ltfisher
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Well, that’s what you should expect when you deal with governments of varied shall we say, ‘orientations’. With its recent announcements about ‘partnerships’ Qantas will need to get used to this unilateral sort of action. I just hope they lots of ‘exit strategies’.

  • 3
    comet
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Qantas is getting very used to dealing with questionable regimes, after Fiji, and before that, Vietnam.

Qorvis spin makes Fijis future look bright. A pity the truth is so different.

Fiji, U.S. to Expand Trade Opportunities

By Republic of Fiji

Posted:  8:05am on Mar  2, 2012; Modified:  8:10am on Mar  2, 2012

2012-03-02T13:10:23Z

Republic of Fiji
SUVA, Fiji, March 2, 2012 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Fiji/USA Business Councilheld its annual meeting in the Fijian capital to review and affirm the productive and growing trade relationship between the two nations.”Trade relations present an area for improvement and have shown progress over the last several years,” noted United States Ambassador to Fiji Frankie Reed. With assurance of transparency and accountability, Ambassador Reed said Fiji’s future business relations with United States are “on the right track.”

Directing attention to American business interests in Fijian mahogany and sugar, Ambassador Reed also highlighted the recent indigenous Native American investment in Fiji’s luxury casino and convention center.

Two-way trade last year was more than $US174 million. Fiji’s exports to the U.S. were an estimated $US131.5 million, and U.S. exports to Fiji were an estimated $US42.6 million.

As the Bainimarama Government continues to expand its international diplomatic relationships, it also continues to strengthen the Fijian economy, empower Fijians, and modernize the nation. With assurance of transparency and accountability, Ambassador Reed said Fiji’s future business relations with United States are “on the right track.”

SOURCE  Republic of Fiji

Democracy and constitutional, free speech protections, a strong legal system and labour rights underlie economic and political success. Where does that leave Fiji as we have none of these rights?

Transparency is vital: Reed

March 01, 2012 08:59:10 AM

http://www.fijilive.com/news/2012/03/01/40556.Fijilive

Any international business will look for transparency and accountability in its operating environment.
This was a sentiment of US Ambassador to Fiji Frankie Reed at the American Chamber of Commerce, Fiji/USA Business Council Annual General Meeting yesterday.
Reed said the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) on January 7 this year by the Fiji government was applauded by international businesses and investors.
For comparison, she said in the United States, they consistently find that their democracy and constitutional, free speech protections, a strong legal system and labour rights underlie economic and political success.
By Ropate Valemei