Robust policies seen as stimulants for growth
Venkat Raman in Suva, October 27, 2018
The Fijian economy is expected to maintain robust growth with a number of sectors performing well, a top banker based in Suva has said.
Saud Minam, Chief Executive, ANZ Fiji (Picture Supplied)
Saud Abdul Minam, Chief Executive Officer of ANZ, based in Suva, believes that several positive factors will augment economic growth in the short and long terms and that his Bank is well-positioned to be a partner in the country’s progress.
Tourism continues to top
“Tourism for instance is one of the strongest segments of the Fijian economy. The country is an attractive destination for travellers from New Zealand, Australia, South Pacific and other countries of Asia. With airlines increasing the frequency of their services to and from Fiji and with the possibility of more global airline carriers adding Fiji to their routes, there is an increasing potential for more tourists to come here. As well as excellent resorts and world-class facilities, friendly and hospitable people are our great assets,” he said.
Mr Minam was speaking to Indian Newslink at his office at the ‘ANZ House’ on Friday, October 26, 2018 on Fiji’s efforts to become a global player embracing digital technology and putting in place a sound infrastructure.
Global Player for Services
“Fiji has an extremely youthful population with 50% of our people less than 27 years of age. With free education, the literacy rate is on the rise. We have the University of the South Pacific, an internationally renowned institution. The government is providing incentives to foreign investors and multinational companies to establish their presence here. The mood is optimistic,” he said.
Fiji is fast becoming a hub Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) including Call Centres and many international companies are already using the growing expertise, Mr Minam said.
Viable Offshore resource
According to the Sydney-based Fijian Consul General and Trade Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand Zarak Khan, “Fiji is the best kept secret as the next emerging global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) offshoring destination.”
He said that Fiji has made significant gains in attracting ICT investors from around the world to establish their operations in Fiji, taking advantage of a well-trained and highly qualified workforce in the ICT and BPO sectors.
“These sectors now employ about 5000 Fijians and contribute about 10% to Fiji’s GDP. The fundamentals of the Fijian economy are very strong to enable this continued growth trajectory and take the ICT and BPO sectors to their next phase of growth. New Zealand based ICT and BPO companies are well-positioned to take advantage of these opportunities,” he said.
As the first commercial bank to be established in Fiji 138 years ago, ANZ is one of the most important partners in the Fijian economy.
ANZ House in Suva- Hub of ANZ South Pacific
(Picture Courtesy: Island Glass & Mirror Limited)
Mr Minam said that with a staff strength of 700 (to manage the Bank’s branches in 10 countries in the region- the Bank has a total of 1800 staff in the Pacific), ANZ has an extensive range of products and services covering all sectors of the Fijian economy.
“One of the most significant recent developments include our latest digital technology which allows ANZ to manage all transactions of our large clients, among who are the Fiji National Provident Fund, several ministries, government departments, large and medium enterprises and investors. This state-of-the-art technology accounts for robots that identify and regulate accounts on behalf of our customers,” he said.
“As the largest Bank with about 32% of market share, ANZ takes its corporate and social responsibility seriously. Apart from sponsoring major events, our staff are encouraged to do voluntary work in the local communities with appropriate incentives. ANZ has also helped in the completion of six wards in the hospitals around the country, including Children’s, Labour and Oncology Wards,” he said.
“Another important activity is our ‘MoneyMinded Programme.’ This is a comprehensive suite of financial education resources for adults, developed by ANZ and used by financial counsellors and community educators in assisting people to build their money management skills, knowledge confidence. So far, we have trained more than 12,000 people in remote areas of Fiji,” he added.
Mr Minam brought with him more than 20 years of international banking experience when he joined ANZ Fiji in 2013. He had previously held senior positions in ANZ Indonesia, ABN AMRO/Royal Bank of Scotland and Citibank. He understands that a bank should be the financial heart of the community, involved in the progress of every individual.
“Fiji is a banker’s delight. Businesses understand the importance of banking and the role that a bank plays in their functioning. People have been considering us as their own institution since 1880. We not only identify ourselves with all Fijians but also seriously understand our responsibility to them and to the country,” Mr Minam said.