1. IMPROVED REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS PROPOSED TO GROW BUSINESSES – Members of the business community, senior government officials and industry experts convened in Suva today to deliberate on the challenges facing the private sector and the way forward.
2. SCHOLARSHIP AND VOLUNTEER SCHEMES AWARENESS ATTRACTS NORTHERNERS – Close to 400 Fijians in the North have visited the Public Service Commission (PSC) booth at the Friendly North Festival to access information on Scholarships and the Fiji Volunteer Scheme.
3. PPSEAWA INTERNATIONAL COMMEMORATES 85TH ANNIVERSARY IN FIJI – The Pan Pacific Southeast Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA) members representing 13 international countries had gathered at Fiji’s Peace Garden yesterday to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the PPSEAWA International and 25th anniversary of the PPSEAWA International Triennial Conference.
1. IMPROVED REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS PROPOSED TO GROW BUSINESSES
Members of the business community, senior government officials and industry experts convened in Suva today to deliberate on the challenges facing the private sector and the way forward.
The Fiji Business Forum, organised by the Suva Chamber of Commerce and Industry, got underway at the Holiday Inn aimed at resolving issues affecting the business community in a focused and targeted approach.
Speaking at the forum, the Suva Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Dr Nur Bano Ali said Fiji needs mutually defined solutions for improved business performance translating into higher levels of economic performance.
“We once again bring you an interactive and practical event designed to foster business and investment from a solution driven approach. Indeed a robust and thriving private sector is a clear sign of a progressive economy and we need to put this agenda at the forefront of formulating trade policies and regulatory processes,” Dr Ali said.
Dr Ali said the Fijian economy would be able to truly overcome its challenges of unemployment and socio-economic development through a concerted effort by the private sector as well as the government.
“Fiji is at a critical phase of change in many ways and we need to capitalise on this change and contribute to moulding the correct shape for business creation and sustained economic growth.”
She added that Fiji has huge underutilised potential for new business and investment generation in the various sectors of our economy.
“Fiji is also undergoing some rapid changes in its regulatory framework and institutional changes which are directly impacting on business performance. Additionally, there are economic challenges which include the need to build on our export base, lower our imports, liberalise trade while enabling competitiveness and create new business opportunities for the SMEs sector,” Dr Ali said.
Dr Ali said that addressing these challenges would result in the strengthening of our trading platform and market competitiveness.
“Fiji is on a positive trajectory in so far as the economic growth forecast increasing to 3 per cent this year and expected to moderate to 2.25 per cent in 2014. The challenge now is to keep the momentum going and set the bar to a sustainable higher than 3 per cent per annum.
“The challenge also is to reduce our unemployment level from 9 per cent to a much lower number through the creation of more business and investment activities,” Dr Ali highlighted.
Dr Ali also urged the regulatory agencies to assist and support the business community to enhance Fiji’s economic performance.
“The service delivery mechanism of government is a principle debilitating factor to economic performance. We hear and know that the sluggish and unprofessional workings of the regulatory processes and approvals is directly in conflict with business performance and improvement.
“This adds to the cost of business in Fiji. We also know that government is trying to fix this along with many other reforms.”
Issues relating to land, approval processes, stamp duty, price control mechanism, new regulatory frameworks such as the New Companies Decree, taxes and Employment Relations Promulgation were discussed at length during the day long forum.
The issues discussed will also make direct contributions to the 2014 national budget which will be announced in November.
2. SCHOLARSHIP AND VOLUNTEER SCHEMES AWARENESS ATTRACTS NORTHERNERS
Close to 400 Fijians in the North have visited the Public Service Commission (PSC) booth at the Friendly North Festival to access information on Scholarships and the Fiji Volunteer Scheme.
The PSC permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand pointed out that this overwhelming response from the public in the North highlighted the public’s growing need for access to information regarding services and assistance provided by the PSC.
He said that while students, parents and guardians queried about the types of Scholarships available at PSC, there were also queries from retired civil servants about the Volunteer Scheme.
The PSC team also visited the Wainikoro community in Nadogo as well as the District (Tikina) of Namuka to disseminate information on the different types of Scholarships available following a personal request by the Tui Namuka.
3. PPSEAWA INTERNATIONAL COMMEMORATES 85TH ANNIVERSARY IN FIJI
The Pan Pacific Southeast Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA) members representing 13 international countries had gathered at Fiji’s Peace Garden yesterday to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the PPSEAWA International and 25th anniversary of the PPSEAWA International Triennial Conference.
The dual anniversaries were marked through the unveiling of a plaque and cake cutting ceremony, followed by an official address from the Fiji’s Ambassador for Women, Madam Nazhat Shameem.
In her opening address Madam Shameem congratulated PPSEAWA International for its achievements and contributions for promoting peace around the world.
“The Pan Pacific Southeast Asia Women’s Association is the only international women’s organization devoted to families, peace and understanding in the Pacific and in Southeast Asia. Since the founding of PPSEAWA in 1928 in Honolulu, Hawaii its membership has grown to 23 national associations, many having several local chapters.
“PPSEAWA has Consultative Status in Category II to the United Nations Economic and Social (ECOSOC) with the privilege of making its voice heard in international decision making. The organization is represented at the United Nations in New York and Geneva and at ESCAP, UNICEF and UNESCO,” Madam Shameem said.
The PPSEAWA International President, Mrs Teresa Hintzke said that Peace Garden is a special place, symbolizing a peaceful environment.
“The celebrations today are very inspiring for PPSEAWA members and it represents the achievement of this international organization that is dedicated to promoting peace and harmony. The Peace Garden reminds us of Paddy Walker, one of the pioneers of PPSEAWA as she was the one who had envisioned this garden to be developed as a monument of peace. Paddy is now 95 years old and lives in Cook Islands and the celebration here today is a great tribute to her.
“Fiji is a beautiful place and I have only heard praises for the Fijian government and the friendly people here, our stay has been a wonderful experience and PPSEAWA International hopes to come back and have our international conference again, Fiji is amazingly a peaceful and wonderful place to visit,” Mrs Hintzke said.