THE FIJIAN Government wants to build a strong and resilient economy that is able to sustain external shocks while enabling the grassroots to have a sustainable livelihood and better standard of living.
The Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Hon Faiyaz Koya said the small and medium enterprises sector played a pivotal role in the national economy as they contributed approximately 12 per cent towards the Fijian Gross Domestic Product or $800 million.
“The FijiFirst Government has persisted, despite criticism, and provided micro, small and medium enterprises support, advice and assistance through many initiatives such as, the Grant Equity Assistance Programme under the Northern Development Programme,” he said.
While launching the SME Promotions and Sales Centre, Minister Koya said the centre will be an important facility that will provide SMEs an opportunity to market and promote their products. The centre is part of the services being provided by the National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprises Development (NCSMED).
Minister Koya said the Centre will provide the platform for SME businesses to get the best exposure, have a better understanding of how the market works and, most importantly, assist them to link up with potential buyers. He said so far, 1846 enterprises have been assisted with the grant assistance totalling to $6.4m.
Furthermore, the Minister said 3073 businesses had undergone training and 80 per cent of these businesses had registered growth. Minister Koya said Government would channel over $1m to assist SMEs in the coming months. “Additionally, my Ministry last year ventured into a new mentoring programme and assisted at least 60 micro, small and medium enterprises and cooperatives,” he said.
Minister Koya added that the Fijian Trade Policy Framework views the development of SMEs as vital to the Fijian industrialisation process and recommends a holistic review of the policy framework pertaining to the sector.
NCSMED acting chief executive officer, Ravi Chand said the centre will be an addition to the array of business support services currently available to SMEs in Fiji. He said the SMEs from throughout Fiji can use the centre to promote and sell their products.
NCSMED’s extensive list of SME focused initiatives include: finance, training, business planning, mentoring, counselling, and advisory services.