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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Three multi-million dollar projects approved

LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER, PREMILA KUMAR

Three major building applications worth $28.4 million were approved by the Department of Town and Country Planning last November.

The three projects include proposed Town House Development by Mangrove Jacks Pte Limited worth $22 million, Proposed Hotel Development by Yathi Rajan worth $4.5 million and Proposed Industrial Warehouse by Lyndhurst Pte Limited worth $1.9 million.

Local Government Minister, Premila Kumar, says in October 2020, $82.6 million worth of applications were approved.

In December two major outline building applications were approved worth $4.4 million.

Kumar says the Department is committed to ensuring the approvals are granted in a timely manner.

She says all major developers are encouraged to meet early with Department staff so they are fully aware of the requirements for their particular development.

Credit: FBC

Date: 21/1/21

Different market trend has been developed: Dr Hassan

ARIEL VIEW OF SUVA CITY. [FILE PHOTO]

The property valuers are not that active in the market as they used to be in previous years.

Valuers Registration Board Chair Dr Abdul Hassan says a different market trend has been developed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Hassan says the valuation market has been directly impacted by the drop in property prices.

[Valuers Registration Board Chair Dr Abdul Hassan]

“If people are not selling the property then the market is not that active so definitely the property price will be less and limited transaction taking place in properties.”

Dr Hassan says they have noted limited number of transactions in the sector.

“There is not much drop in terms of number of valuers engaged in property valuation but their activities itself has gone down.”

Currently there are around 15 active valuers in the market.

Credit: FBC

Date: 18/1/21

Agents urged to re-look at their cost

REAL ESTATE AGENTS HAVE BEEN URGED TO RE-LOOK AT THEIR COSTS DUE TO A DECREASE IN COMMISSIONS FROM SALES. [FILE PHOTO]

Real Estate agents have been urged to re-look at their costs due to a decrease in commissions from sales.

Real Estate Agents Licensing Board Chair Dr Abdul Hassan says because of a decline in property prices, commissions have dropped.

Dr Hassan says they have recorded few sales in the last 6 months.

He adds the agents are facing some challenges in terms of finding buyers as owners are not willing to negotiate the prices.

“There is a drop in the sales of properties and properties which are less than $500,000 have been sold in recent months. Above $500,000 the owners are facing difficulties in getting buyers at that price.”

Dr Hassan says agents can diversify into other areas while staying active in the real estate sector.

Credit: FBC

Date: 14/1/2021

Drop in property prices: Khan

BAYSHORE REAL ESTATE DIRECTOR ARIF KHAN. [FILE PHOTO]

Property prices have dropped in the country and consumer confidence is at a very low level say Real Estate agents.

Bayshore Real Estate Director Arif Khan says most people are making offers much lower than the valuation price.

He adds because of the situation of the current market, they have been forced to reduce the property prices.

“We listed a freehold property in the market for $500,000 but buyers could not get financing due to their employment and we ended up selling it for $300,000.”

Khan claims for the past six months they have seen a decline of almost 30 percent in the residential and commercial sales.

Credit: FBC

Date: 13/1/21

Payment system implemented to recover rates owed

MAJORITY OF MUNICIPAL COUNCILS HAVE IMPLEMENTED THE PAYMENT SYSTEM TO RECOVER THE AMOUNT OF RATES OWED. [FILE PHOTO]

Majority of municipal councils have implemented the payment system to recover the amount of rates owed.

Local Government Minister, Premila Kumar says it’s been noted that a lot of businesses and people with properties are trying to take advantage of the payment system.

Kumar says this is unacceptable as the majority of these businesses have been owing rates for years.

“If it’s a residential consumer who’s affected by COVID-19 we understand. But there are businesses who owe rates even when things were better in the country and they have been owing rates for years. The amount of rates being owed has increased.”

Kumar adds some ratepayers who live abroad also owe money to the councils.

She adds some municipal councils are now taking these matters to the small claims tribunal.

Credit: FBC

Date: 12/1/21

Banks announce new measures

DAYS AFTER CONFIRMATION THAT BANKS ARE CONSIDERING INTEREST RATES REDUCTIONS, A NUMBER OF THEM HAVE ANNOUNCED NEW MEASURES. [FILE PHOTO]

Days after confirmation that banks are considering interest rates reductions, a number of them have announced new measures.

ANZ has removed loan approval fees for new customers while HFC no longer charges administration fees on first home loans.

ANZ has also confirmed it will also allow waiver on loan restructuring fees for commercial customers on a case-by-case basis.

Association of Banks Chair, Rakesh Ram, says these steps are meant to assist Fijians access loans while also bringing in new business.

“I want my debt to be recovered and I want to make it easier for customers to meet the loan repayment.”

As of 31 December, total liquidity in the banking system stood at $836.8 million.

Credit: FBC

Date: 11/1/21

2022 will bring economic boom

2022 will be Fiji’s year of growth once COVID-19 is managed and vaccines made available.

Economist, Dr Rohit Kishore says people in Fiji and around the world want to get out of their confined spaces, meaning tourists will return once borders open.

“We want to fly now, people been on lockdown, home for too long. Worldwide people are growing wings now if I can use that term. Come 2022 we’ll have a boom”

Dr Kishore says COVID-19 has is forecast to result in a 19% drop in economic growth, meaning we are running in the negative, but this will be short-lived.

He says for now, Fijians will have to weather the storm before things start to improve.

International studies show that people around the world after months of lockdowns and restricted movement, want to travel again.

Credit: Fbc

Date: 10/1/21

Banks increase provisions for high-risk loans

Commercial Banks have increased their provisions for high-risk loans given the mounting deferment of payments due to COVID-19.

Association of Banks Chair Rakesh Ram says, as of September banks have provisioned $100 million as bad or doubtful debts.

Ram adds this figure will increase because COVID-19 isn’t over yet, and will eventually hit the bank’s bottom line.

He adds the banks are anticipating a difficult twelve months with indications that many loan accounts will fall through completely.

“We anticipate that the number of our loan qualities will deteriorate significantly. We will be required to create significantly high-level provisioning and we anticipate to create an additional estimation of about 50 to 100 million extra.”

Ram says banks have also provided repayment holidays worth $3.5 billion up to September 2020.

The total lending portfolio for the sector is $7 billion which indicates that banks have given repayment holidays to 50 percent of customers.

“We are trying to support as much as we can, as practically as we can but also have to protect our own business then only we will be able to support others if we have a viable business intact.”

Ram adds that Fijians must recognize banks are pushing the envelope, in relaxing loan repayments and at the same time reducing interest rates to help new borrowers.

Credit: FBC

Date: 11/1/21

Deferment of loan repayments on cases-by-case basis

COMMERCIAL BANKS ARE EXTENDING COVID-19 HARDSHIP ASSISTANCE ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS UNTIL MARCH 2021. [FILE PHOTO]

Commercial banks are extending COVID-19 hardship assistance on a case-by-case basis until March 2021.

Association of Banks Chair Rakesh Ram says Fijians who have loans must be able to prove that they are having difficulties making re-payments due to financial constraints brought on by COVID-19.

“This basically related to customers or businesses that have been directly impact by COVID-19. On a case-by-case basis, we will provide repayment moratorium until March 2021.”

Ram says most banks are also trying to assist first home loan customers.

Bank South Pacific has also confirmed that they have extended the COVID-19 relief assistance to 31st March on a case by case basis.

Country Head Haroon Ali is also encouraging customers to contact them to if they are suffering due to COVID-19 or TC Yasa.

The government introduced laws last month to prevent people from losing their property due to unpaid mortgages.

After March 31st, those who are unable to pay back will be able to dip into their Fiji National Provident Fund accounts to meet their obligations to the bank.

Credit: FBC

Date: 7/1/21

Banks ready to slash interest rates in 2021

COMMERCIAL BANKS HAVE FOR THE FIRST TIME COME OUT TO SAY THEY ARE READY TO SLASH INTEREST RATES IN 2021. [FILE PHOTO]

Commercial banks have for the first time come out to say they are ready to slash interest rates in 2021.

This is being done not only to entice new clients in the COVID-19 period, but for banks to protect vested interests due to the harsh reality of the pandemic.

Association of Banks Chair, Rakesh Ram says interest rates will not be going up anytime soon.

Ram says this will benefit them and customers.

“We are having a much significant higher risk book, we are passing the interest rate reduction to the customers because at the end of the day it is a win-win situation. I want my debt to be recovered and I want to make it easier for customers to meet the loan repayment.”

According to Ram, banks have already reviewed and reduced some interest rates in the past few weeks.

Credit: FBC

Date: 8/1/2021