Sofitel’s $30M Facelift

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The renovations and refurbishment are being done with minimum disruptions to guests.

Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa’s $30 million refurbishments will set this renowned resort apart from many other resorts in Fiji. The latest area under refurbishment is the arrival area at the entrance,foyer and reservations and with the images showing what the transformation would look like, the sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa will surely set itself apart from major tourist destinations in Fiji.

The resort has already completed the refurbishment of the famous Watui Beach Club and its rooms, the newly built Kid’s Club and restaurants including the new concept Bazaar kitchen.

The new buffet restaurant is the first of its kind in Fiji and features seven interactive kitchens French,Fijian,Arabic, Indian,Japanese,Chinese and American Grill.

Republik Nightclub

The resort opened its $1.6million Republik Nightclub in December and is the only nightclub on Denarau Island which features international disc jockeys on special occasions.

The resort’s director of sales and marketing Michael Bell said the entrance and foyer had been closed.

” Yes this is currently offline for renovation till early March 2020,” Mr Bell said.

He added the resort ahd received excellent feedback for both the Republik Nightclub as well as the Baazar Kitchen.

” This year the resort would be looking at the renovations and refurbishment of three wings of guest rooms on the family section.

” We are in discussions to possibly add another wing of rooms, about 66 rooms in total to the hotel.

” The wing would run down the family side of the resort next to our boundary with Hilton”.

However Mr Bell did not disclose when work on this new additional wing would start.

The renovations and refurbishment are being done with minimum disruptions to guests.

Credit: FijiSun

Date:26/01/20

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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Businesses encouraged to be resolute

TRADE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER PREMILA KUMAR [FILE PHOTO]

Retailers have been advised to be resolute as Fiji goes through financial and economic uncertainties caused by COVID-19.

Trade and Industry Minister Premila Kumar has acknowledged that the retail sector is suffering due to the COVID-19 lockdowns in Lautoka and Suva.

Kumar says public health and preventing the spread of COVID-19 is the priority at the moment.

“I will emphasise, the pain must be shared. It cannot be one way – it has to be both ways. This is the time that we have to all work together to come out of it.”

She says retailers, bar operators, gyms, the transport sector and others which are considered non-essential are worst affected at this stage.

However, the minister points out that supermarkets, market vendors and some large scale manufacturers are actually doing more business during the current situation.

Credit: FBC

Date: 06/04/2020

COVID-19: Commission Praises Taxi Operators, Urges Landlord To Show Compassion

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) is thanking taxi operators who have reduced their contract rates during COVID-19.

In a statement, chief executive Joel Abraham said: “It’s encouraging to see Fijians stepping up to help each other during this time of need and there is no doubt that we can overcome this together.”

Mr Abraham is urging other taxi operators to make similar considerations for their drivers during this global pandemic.

“Taxi drivers are finding it difficult to get passengers right now and many will not be able to meet the $250 and $300 contract requirements and feed their families at the same time.

“While the owners hold the permit, it is the drivers who work very hard and often long hours to make the money they need,” he said.

“Taxi drivers are doing excellent job, and many continue to drive, despite being at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, in order to provide Fijians with transportation services.”

He said taxi drivers who are not given relief by their operators could contact the commission and they would mediate on their behalf.

The Government has provided relief on car loans and other mortgages.

Plea to landlords

Meanwhile, Mr Abraham is urging landlords not to evict tenants during these troubled times.

“The COVID-19 virus has forced many companies to temporarily shut down and Fijians may not be able to earn their full income and thus be unable to pay rent,” he said.

The Government has made commitment to give further assurances to the banks to protect ordinary Fijians who have home mortgages through Letters of Comfort.

Mr Abraham is also urging tenants who are able to pay their rent to do so and to talk to their landlords and negotiate payments options. The Commission is currently looking at measures to protect both landlords and tenants during this crisis.

“We also thank the landlords who have been understanding and provided relief to tenants during a time where togetherness is very important,” he said.

Credit: Fiji Sun

Date: 06/04/2020

HOW TO CLASSIFY AND OPERATE REALESTATE AS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICES

In line with some of the developed real-estate economies, Fiji should consider reclassifying real-estate as an essential business.  Since, housing needs are greater during these crises, this can be done with some strict guidelines.

All real estate licensees must take into account the health and safety of their clients and fellow licensees, and follow the existing protocols for protecting against the spread of COVID-19. If such health safeguards and protocols are not followed, the rule for the state could easily change to stop or restrict all real estate activity. Real estate licensees should follow all local health mandates.

1. No open houses should be held.

2. Showings should be done virtually, if at all possible.

3. All activities should be completed electronically, if at all possible.

4. Only a single agent and no more than two other individuals are to be in the house at the same time during a showing. If other persons are necessary for a showing, they should wait outside or in their vehicles to observe the social distance guidelines.

5. Sellers are to be advised that they should not be present within a dwelling at the same time as other individuals.

6. Agents should read and understand the recommendations from the Minsitry of Health  on how to protect yourself. This is critically important!

7. Any persons on the property must agree to adhere strictly to the social distancing guidelines at all times by remaining at least one meter  apart per the recommendations established by the Ministry of Health

8. Any person entering a property shall provide by declaration that to the best of their knowledge, they are not currently ill with a cold or flu; do not have a fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, or exhibit other COVID-19 symptoms; have not been in contact with a person with COVID-19; and will adhere to and follow all precautions required for viewing the property at all times.

9. Sellers and buyers must be expressly made aware of the risks of showing and visiting properties:

10. Unless absolutely necessary, communications with clients should be done via electronic means or by telephone. In person conversations should be minimized unless absolutely necessary.

A-G Gets Help For Airport Tenants

“All tenants and concessionaires at Nadi International Airport will have rent free for the month of April and May and a discounted rate for the month of March, they would have to work it out with Fiji Airports.”

The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday successfully negotiated with Fiji Airports the rent waiver for business tenants at Nadi International Airport.

This move by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum keeps in mind flights that are expected to resume by the end of May.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this was part of measures to ensure businesses which rely on traffic at the airport remain alive despite COVID-19.

He said: “Obviously there is no activity at the airport and very little activity means very little business.

He said after May, they would conduct a review.

He added that if there was any activity by Fiji Airports, in particular at Nadi International Airport, then obviously they could adjust the rent accordingly.

“But obviously if there is no movement at all then we will have to continue with the rent free.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted that these businesses also have to look after their employees.

The major duty free retailers at Nadi International Airport are Tappoos and Prouds and they are located both at the international arrival and departure areas.

Both retailers offer a wide range of the world’s prestigious brands of liquor, tobacco, fragrances (perfumes), cosmetics, jewellery and electrical goods.

Private sector meeting

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also met with private sector and other stakeholder representatives yesterday at Suvavou House to discuss how they could assist in the smooth implementation of the curfew that will commence from tomorrow.

He said the feedback they received from businesses was very accommodating.

Obviously, he said one aspect was that they need to know and understand how they could allow businesses to carry on without being disrupted.

“The supply chain will need to be maintained, and how best they can maintain it even with the curfew.

“They also continue to ensure people who are employed after hours continue to go to work, and also continue to get paid.”

Some of them, he said have made adjustments to their shift hours; some of them had sought clarification on the curfew hours and would work with the relevant authorities.

Credit: Fiji Sun

FRCS implements COVID-19 prevention measures

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Service has taken a number of measures to ensure health and safety due to COVID-19.

To minimize contacts, all joint cards will be posted to customers through mail.

Customers can apply for joint card through our Taxpayer Online Portal and confirm a time and collection date suitable to them.

Acting Chief Executive Fane Vave says customers should also use the online services for lodgement of returns, registration of new taxpayer Identification numbers (TIN), application of joint cards and online payment of taxes.

FRCS has implemented new preventative measures to ensure that it continues to provide critical services to our customers and stakeholders.

Vave adds customers should refrain from sharing confidential information such as user ID, one-time log-in code, TIN and other personal information online.

Credit: Fbc News

People who have been affected by job losses, asked to contact their creditors for some relief assistance

With the coronavirus pandemic causing many workers to lose work hours or even be unemployed for a few months, the Consumer Council of Fiji says it is more important than ever to know what financial options available to you should you have an existing loan or hire purchase account.

The council urges consumers who are faced with financial hardships caused by the pandemic to visit their creditors and request for some relief assistance.

Council CEO Seema Shandil says this is their right pursuant to Section 66 of the Consumer Credit Act 1999 where a debtor or consumer may apply for a restructure in their credit if they are unable to make repayments because of illness, unemployment or other reasonable cause.

Shandil says consumers with hire purchase accounts, personal loans and even commercial loans may apply to their credit provider and make necessary arrangements in terms of their distress.

The Consumer Council says creditors are required by law to issue written notices setting out the particulars of the change in the terms of the credit contract and any information required by the regulations.

Shandil says the council applauds the gesture by certain banks such as the Bank of South Pacific and ANZ in coming forward to provide relief packages for their loan customers during this crisis.

She says the package aims to assist those who face difficulties during the current crisis.

While the duration of the outbreak remains uncertain, the council urges all credit providers to be accommodative and be forthcoming with customers faced with financial distress.

Credit: Fiji Village

Banks ready to ease loan repayments

ECONOMY MINISTER AIYAZ SAYED-KHAIYUM

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis there is some hope for people with bank loans.

The financial institutions have in principal agreed to invoke hardship allowance repayments under the Consumer Credit Act.

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum  says a meeting was held with the Association of Banks yesterday where these issues were discussed at length.

“We hope to have some further meetings with them – but there is a general agreement in principal – that firstly we have the Consumer Credit Act. Under this Act – that relates to personal mortgages and hire purchase for example, there is a hardship allowance.”

Sayed-Khaiyum says the financial institutions are looking at repayment holidays where they will be deferring principal amount payments.

“Which means for example in some instances could be complete stop of repayments, or could be only interest payments, And then of course there are many other loans that fall outside of the Consumer Credit Act for example – the small businesses and other large businesses and again Banks have shown an appetite to stop repayments. This does not mean that if you are running a very healthy business and you have not been affected by COVID-19, you will also get that holiday. It is for all those businesses who have actually been affected.”

The government is also in talks with the Fiji National Provident Fund to discuss how members can access funds and how much they can access. An announcements in this respect will be made soon.

The Minister says people should use internet for their banking needs instead of physically going to the banks.

“And you will see now, many of the other banks now are further building capacity in the digital space so people don’t necessarily physically have to go to the banks to access funds or even for that matter deposit – so they will be able to use machines.”

The Minister has also assured that in terms of lending, banks have said there is a healthy liquidity in the market and any projects that are eligible for funding will be accommodated.

Credit: FBC

Date: 19/3/2020