Notwithstanding the diplomatic winter that dominates political relations between the two countries, an increasing number of New Zealand businesses are finding Fiji an exciting investment and commercial destination.
A delegation of 12 businesspersons has just returned from Fiji after a five-day visit, which they said was an eye-opener and totally contrary to what they read and hear on mainstream media here.
Wellington based Fijian High Commissioner Mere Tora, who initiated and led the trade mission to the South Pacific nation, said that it was important for New Zealand companies and entrepreneurs to visit Fiji and learn first-hand about the country, its business practices and people.
“There is immense potential for commercial and industrial enterprises in New Zealand to engage with their counterparts in Fiji for mutual benefit. There are exciting developments occurring in Fiji as the delegation witnessed during their visit,” she told Indian Newslink.
Manuel Valdez, Chief Operating Officer of the Pacific Islands Trade & Invest, an arm of the Suva-based Pacific Islands Forum, was an active partner in the trade mission.
“As well as meeting a number of businesspersons and visiting factories, offices and commercial complexes such as the ‘Damodar City Centre,’ the delegation had an opportunity of meeting with Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, ministers and government officials. Mr Bainimarama apprised them of the opportunities available for investors in Fiji and incentives being provided by his government,” Ms Tora said.
WAML Group Chairman Wenceslaus Anthony, Patton Limited Chief Executive Sameer Handa and Zindia Limited Managing Director Jacob Mannothra, who were among the members of the delegation, agreed, saying that Fiji businesses were hospitable, forthcoming and enterprising.
“We are sure that the members of the delegation will find several areas of interest to do business with Fiji in the future,” they said.
Harish Lodhia, Honorary Consul for Fiji based in Auckland told this newspaper that a number of projects currently under implementation would make Fiji a great country for commercial engagement.
“Fiji is a favourite among our tourists and with the economy on the move, there are many existing and emerging opportunities,” he said.
Among the officials who addressed the delegation on various issues were Investment Fiji Chief Executive Ravuni Uluilakeba, Trade Promotions Manager Alrina Ali, Principal Tourism Officer Nanise Masau, Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority Principal Analyst David Balenacagi and Reserve Bank of Fiji Chief Manager (Financial Markets) Ariff Ali.
Editor’s Note: Further reports will appear in our next issue. The picture here shows Mr Bainimarama with (from left) Deepak Tahal, Mere Tora, Helen Roderick, Rick Kermode, Jacob Mannothra, Wenceslaus Anthony, Harish Lodhia, Daven Naidu, Deepak Rati, Arjun Sami, Radhe Nand and Manuel Valdez