CAPTION: PNG Minister for Trade, Richard Maru greets FMF Foods Limited group chief executive Ram Bajekal while PM Bainimarama looks on. Photo: MINFO.
Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has called on the private sector in both Fiji and Papua New Guinea to work closely with each other to boost investment opportunities.
At the opening of the 2013 Trade and Investment Seminar this morning in PNG, the head of government pointed out both countries’ membership within the Melanesian Spearhead Group. He said that since establishing the group, countries within the region have been benefiting significantly.
“The MSG is now an important regional and international grouping and Fiji attaches enormous value to both our membership and our contribution to its success. The organisation was further strengthened in 2005 by the signing of the revised MSG Trade Agreement to foster economic development through trade”, PM Bainimarama said.
“As the major economies in the region, Fiji and PNG are now driving the MSG Trade Agreement towards the first fully fledged Free Trade Area (FTA) in the region. By creating stronger trade and economic links between our two countries, we are laying the foundation for a new era of trade and economic development and cooperation within the MSG”.
“The Fijian and PNG Governments – along with our respective private sectors – share a bold vision, which is a truly integrated Pacific, pursuing common goals that grow our economies, increase our regional and global influence and, benefit all our peoples”.
The seminar, which brings together officials from both the public and private sector from both countries, is designed to boost investment opportunities and provide a platform to exchange ideas and experiences. The Prime Minister also pointed out recent initiatives put in place to stimulate investments in Fiji.
Fiji has become a more attractive destination for foreign investment. In order to reduce the cost of doing business, my Government has amended and modernised laws to reduce bureaucracy and red tape in the trade and investment systems and processes.
“We are upgrading our information technology systems to pave the way for the introduction of a portal for ‘E-Services’. This will enable most Government services to go online and be hosted on a single platform. This will include Investment Approval Agencies and applications for Foreign Investment Registration Certificates”.
“We have simplified the tax system to make it more transparent and eliminate fraud and tax evasion. The Fijian corporate tax is one of the lowest at 20% with a further reduced corporate tax rate of 17% for foreign companies that establish regional or global headquarters in Fiji. The ANZ Bank has already taken advantage of this incentive by shifting its Regional Headquarters from Melbourne to Fiji”.
Meanwhile Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Honourable Richard Maru delivered his address at the seminar and called for more opportunities from Fiji to be established in Fiji.