Bayshore unveils new website

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For survival in this tech savvy world, we need to have a presence and a product which is customer friendly and easy to use.

This has prompted Bayshore Real estate to revamp itself and bring a product which is user friendly, faster to use and offers viewers a chance to find a solution to their housing needs whether it be a rental or the purchase of a lot of land.

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New $40mil project for Nadi

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Wailoaloa Developments Pte Limited earlier this week carried out the groundbreaking ceremony for their $40 million Palm Beach Estate Townhouses Project at Wailoaloa, Nadi.

The company, fully owned by Hari Punja and Sons, said the development was launched at a level that was not previously available in Fiji.

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Cabinet approves establishment of new Ease of Doing Business taskforce- PM

[Photo: Fijian Government]

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says cabinet has approved the establishment of a new Ease of Doing Business taskforce under the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism.

He says the taskforce has his full backing to streamline procedures and processes, eliminate repetition and inconsistencies and bring business transparency to new heights to Fiji.

Speaking at the 25th Australia-Fiji Business Council Forum at the Brisbane Marriott Hotel conference centre, Bainimarama says initial initiatives under Digital Fiji have already brought a number of company registration services online for the first time including e-payment for registration under the Biz Fiji portal.

He told those at the forum that this new online business portal has given users the ability to access a step by step guide and checklist to easily walk them through the registration process and allows them to download application forms to start a business or obtain a construction permit. 

Bainimarama went on to say that over the course of the next 18 months, Biz Fiji will evolve into a full online submission and approvals portal allowing business licenses and construction permits to be issued entirely online.

The Prime Minister also told the forum that when they speak of this type of business efficiency in Fiji,  there are always murmurings of the World Bank Group’s ease of doing business rankings and how Fiji has historically underperformed in its standing.

Bainimarama says while these rankings have their flaws and biases, they highlight a common cause that is shared by the government which is cutting unwanted bureaucracy.  

Bainimarama also says the Australia-Fiji Business Council stands as evidence of the intimate economic relationship between the two countries.

He says with over 120 companies as members, this forum has become the perfect space for any business engaged in bilateral trade or looking to engage in the future.

The Fijian delegation to the forum included the Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar, Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Mahendra Reddy, Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister, Sugar Industry and Immigration and also acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yogesh Karan, Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism Shaheen Ali and Fiji’s High Commissioner to Australia Luke Daunivalu.

Credit: Fijivillage

Date: 18/10/2019

Fiji’s economic growth attributed to PM’s leadership

DIRECTOR FOR PACIFIC ISLANDS PROGRAMME AT THE LOWY INSTITUTE, JONATHAN PRYKE

Fiji’s 10 years of unprecedented economic growth has undoubtedly been attributed to the sound leadership of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

This was highlighted by Director for Pacific Islands Programme at the Lowy Institute, Jonathan Pryke during the 25th Australia-Fiji Business Council forum official dinner.

Pryke says it’s no secret that the formal relationship has been through a tough time but the Bainimarama-led Government has turned a new page which has seen an enhanced Fiji-Australia bilateral relationship.

With the signing of the Vuvale Partnership, he says the Prime Minister’s prospects for a better Fiji have been bright.
Pryke adds it is time to elevate the relationship even further with Australia and Fiji negotiating on a comprehensive bilateral trade and investment agreement.

This he says would reduce barriers of entry for new traders and investors and minimize risk by setting out mutually agreed upon legal and regulatory frameworks.

Pryke suggests it’s time to go beyond existing schemes and strengthen institutional ties between immigration and customs to harmonize systems to make things work more smoothly.

Credit: FBC

Date: 18/10/2019

HFC Reduces Home Loan Rates, Targets Local Market

HFC Bank is reducing its home loan rates to 6.99 per cent.

General manager retail banking Tony Ram made the announcement yesterday at their head office in Victoria Parade, Suva.

Mr Ram says as the local leading bank in Fiji, HFC has one of the most attractive home loan packages.

“Currently our home loan variable rate is 7.5 per cent and we are reducing it to 6.99 per cent.”

Key highlights below:

-Fixed rate for 12 months – 4.50 per cent (very competitive in market). This would actually assist customer to buy a house at ease and really help with budgeting.

-Variable rate – 6.99 per cent (Reduced from 7.50 per cent to stay competitive in market)

– While having one year fixed, it would assist customer to settle. At the same time a low variable rate would bring about more flexibility in their repayment throughout their entire loan period.

– Lowest Equity of 10 per cent

-Cash and/or;

-FNPF Housing Eligibility amount and/or;

The surplus offered as security value and/or

-Insurance can be built in repayments for ease of customer

-In house valuation to fast-track valuation needs

-Legal costs can be added to the loan

-Consolidation of all other loan debts with mortgage.

-For potential customers to HFC, there won’t be any changes made to requiring a loan as normal procedures will take place in terms of verifying source of income.

-Effective date of this new home loan rate will be announced later.

Mr Ram adds this decrease in home loan rates is an indication of HFC’s profitable growth for the last financial year.

HFC Bank past Friday announced a net profit after tax for the year ending June 2019 of $18.267m, a 55 per cent growth from previous financial year. This represents growth in NPAT in excess of $10m in the last two years.

HFC Bank general manager retail banking Tony Ram.

Mr Ram highlighted the contributing factors to the steady growth was:

-The core reason was good assets writing and increase in our loan book,

-a lot of new clients on board HFC,

-a lot of new business for HFC, strong profit growth purely from hard work,

-a lot of new loans, new businesses

-There’s things that we have been doing right in the past few years and in the past 18 months.

Credit: Fiji Sun

Date: 15/10/2019

Fiji Water to make all plastic bottles from 100% recycled plastic by 2025

FIJI Water will introduce a new 2.5-gallon packaging option for the refrigerator

The No. 1 premium imported bottled water in the US, FIJI Water has come up with an aggressive timetable to make all plastic bottles from 100% recycled plastic (rPET) by 2025, with 20% rPET in bottles next year.

The owners of FIJI Water’s parent company, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, announced last month an unprecedented $750 million pledge to world-renowned science and engineering institute Caltech to fight climate change.

The company says the commitment is the largest ever for environmental sustainability research and the second-largest to a U.S. academic institution in history.

A portion of the research will focus on decomposable plastic, along with tackling issues of water, energy, food, and waste in a world confronting rapid climate change.

FIJI Water says it will further reach its sustainability goals through new packaging innovations and plastic reduction that advance the independent brand beyond pledges made by the largest global beverage companies.

As an alternative to single-use bottles, FIJI Water will introduce a new 2.5-gallon packaging option for the refrigerator or counter and a 5-gallon option designed to fit in a standard hot and cold water dispenser. Both options will utilize up to 76 percent less plastic—in the case of the 5-gallon option, an estimated equivalent of 38 fewer 500mL bottles.

It says prior innovations have also already removed a significant amount of the plastic in bottles since 2008.

FIJI Water says the brand’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond addressing plastics. It says working in partnership with Conservation International, FIJI Water conserved more than 40,000 acres in one of Fiji’s largest remaining unprotected indigenous rain forest, the Sovi Basin, preventing future logging and degradation of the area.

FIJI Water also partnered with local community members to plant 325,000 new trees across 2,800 acres and is working with the Fijian government on their efforts to develop recycling initiatives.

It also says overall, FIJI Water has invested more than $25 million in social and environmental philanthropy in Fiji.

Credit: Fijivillage

Date: 17/10/2019

University students targets of illegal rent increase

Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission CEO Joel Abraham [Right side]

The illegal increasing of rent, failure of landlords to keep agreements and also issue receipts are some of the problems currently being faced by university students that are renting.

These problems which are ongoing in the market have been discovered by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Speaking to the Public Accounts Committee, Commission Chief Executive Officer Joel Abraham says they have reached out and had some discussions with the Tertiary Scholarships and Loans Board to look at the students that are registered with them to see how they can foster some exchange of information.

He says they have also been working with the universities and have been giving out regular feedback and reminders to ensure that these matters are highlighted.

Abraham says when issues are highlighted and there is merit in the case, the matter is pursued and taken to court and fines are involved.

He says they are also assisting students from across the region by having discussions with the various head of embassies for other pacific island countries that are in Fiji so that there is a focal point for them to raise concerns and grievances with the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Abraham says they are facing some challenges in investigating these cases.

Credit: Fijivillage

Date: 16/10/2019

Fiji’s economy not immune to global market trends: Das

A sluggish global forecast and a black economy are been attributed to a drop in Fiji’s revenue collections.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Service CEO Visvanath Das says Fiji is not immune to the effects of global market performances and with the prevalence of cash transactions, a black economy is more apparent.

In a submission before the Public Accounts Committee, Das says revenue collection for the 2017/2018 financial year hit two point eight billion dollars which decreased the following year because of these factors.

“So even if you know you looked at currently the global economic slowdown you know has some impact on the Fijian economy as well and therefore as tax is a function of GDP is going to reflect that. And I think you know 2018, 2019, I should not rule out the fact that we still need to work in the black economy space.”

Das adds the FRCS are however working to curb the black economy with the implementation of the VAT monitoring system.

Credit: FBC

Date: 14/10/2019

HOTEC to enhance trade between tourism industry stakeholders

FHTA CHIEF EXECUTIVE FANTASHA LOCKINGTON

Fiji Hotel & Tourism Association’s annual industry trade show will provide opportunities for enhancing trade amongst the industry stakeholders this year.

FHTA Chief Executive Fantasha Lockington says local and international business people in the hospitality industry will be able to establish new trade relationships and broaden their presence within Fiji.

Lockington says HOTEC will also enhance opportunities for over 200 industry buyers whose core businesses include import, wholesale, retail, and hotel and resort operations.

Thirty-five exhibitors will also be showcasing their products and the services that they provide.

The awards will be held from the 7th to 8th of next month at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on Denarau Island.

Credit: FBC

Date: 14/10/2019