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Fiji’s Outsourcing Industry – A way forward for the Fijian Economy

Fiji’s Outsourcing Industry – A way forward for the Fijian Economy

 

The BPO council of Fiji in collaboration with Market Development Facility and an Australian based company, Matchboard, organised an online webinar for senior executives of Australian based companies who are looking to outsource to Fiji.

 

The Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum delivered his opening remarks at the panel discussion. The event functioned as both an information session and networking platform to highlight the advantages of outsourcing key business functions to Fiji and to connect Australian Business with Fiji based BPO companies.

The panel discussion which was hosted by Matchboard’s Managing Director, Ms Sharon Melamed and funded by the Market Development Facility, provided valuable insights from the leaders of BPO companies such as Mindpearl, Our Pacific Office and Packleader into their experiences while operating in Fiji.

Mr Brad Hagstrom, COO at Harmoney , an Australian company who have been outsourcing their contact centre operations and other functions to Mindpearl in Fiji since 2014, shared a compelling case study on why they chose Fiji as their outsourcing destination. “Fijians have excellent customer service skills and their smiling personality is what appealed to us the most”, said Mr Hagstrom.

The executive director of the BPO council, Ms Sagufta Janif in her presentation mentioned that many Australian businesses require their agents to be fully vaccinated and is a prerequisite for employment in the sector. “As of September 8th, 52.9% of our targeted population is fully vaccinated whereas the Philippines stands at 28.2% and this places Fiji at an advantage”, said Ms Janif.

She also mentioned that many outsourcing operations involve the use of technology. The outsourcing industry relies on digital-savvy staff, which is generally a skill that younger people have. 85% of BPOs workforce in Fiji is below the age of 30.

The main objective of the event was to inform Australian BPO companies currently based in the Philippines of the benefits and advantages of potentially relocating here to Fiji.

The A-G highlighted Fiji’s young and dynamic workforce, high literacy rates, world-class ICT infrastructure, friendly customer service and low business costs as key selling points for companies looking to outsource to Fiji.

These advantages, coupled with the generous income tax incentives and duty concessions recently announced in the 2021-2022 National Budget should serve as a springboard for the growth of Fiji’s BPO sector.

 

The Fijian government has also provided a $200,000 grant to the BPO council to Market Fiji as the outsourcing destination of choice. Please see below YouTube link on How Fiji stacks up v the Philippines for Outsourcing.

 

Transforming Fiji: The 5/20-Year Plan

At no time in our history have Fijians held greater confidence in the direction of our nation or in the future we are working together to build.

Our income levels are steadily increasing, we have moved up the ladder to become an upper middle-income country, and our living standards are the highest they have ever been, as Fijians enjoy the bene ts of eight consecutive years of economic growth.

Click here to see the full report.

Fiji Kava Quality Standard

This standard applies to kava (yaqona) as defined in Section 2. the standard applies to kava products used as a food or food ingredient and/or other products intended for human usage.

Kava Definition

The word “kava” refers to the plant species Piper methysticum and/or to the traditional beverage obtained by cold water extraction of the plant’s drinkable parts.

The word “kava” also refers to the Piper methysticum varieties known to have a history of safe traditional usage.

The Fijian varieties are:

  • – Loa kasa leka;
  • – Loa kasa balavu;
  • – Vula kasa leka;
  • – Vula kasa balavu;
  • – Dokobana vula;
  • – Dokobana loa;
  • – Qilaleka;
  • – Qila balavu;
  • – Matakaro leka;
  • – Matakaro balavu;
  • – Yonolulu ;
  • – Damu; &
  • – Yalu.

 

The kava plant parts proven to have a history of safe traditional usage are:

  • –  roots (unpeeled),
  • –  stumps or rhizomes (always peeled).
  • –  basal stems (always peeled)

 

Click here to download and read the full Fiji Kava Quality Standard.

Fiji Green Bond Framework

Introduction

 

Fiji sees the issuance of Green Bonds as an important tool to finance the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy and plans to issue Green Bonds to fund new financing or the re-financing of projects with economic, environmental and societal benefits, with a particular emphasis on the climate and natural environment.

Fiji has retained Sustainalytics to provide a Second Party Opinion to confirm the validity of the Framework. Sustainalytics2 has reviewed Fiji’s Green Bond Framework for its sustainable and green qualities as well as its alignment with the GBP. The objective of the Second Party Opinion is to provide investors with an independent assessment. The Second Party Opinion, as well as the Framework, will be published on the Reserve Bank of Fiji website.

Background

 

Climate change and climate-induced natural disaster risks constitute two of the greatest barriers to sustainable development as the impacts are widespread and cross-sectoral. Fiji is exposed to large natural risks, especially from floods and tropical cyclones. In the period between 1969 and 2016, the country experienced 63 tropical cyclones and 146 notable floods between 1969 and 2009. In February 2016, a category 5 tropical storm, the strongest ever in the Southern hemisphere, made landfall in Fiji.

Approximately 540,400 people equivalent to 62% of the country’s total population were affected and the country sustained damage amounting to almost a third of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fiji is also at the forefront of large and uncertain long-term threats from climate change, especially from sea level rise and increased intensity of extreme weather events. For example, a coastal community – Vunidogoloa Village – in the Cakaudrove Province in Vanua Levu was relocated due to sea level rise.

There are some communities identified for relocation including a school. Rising sea levels coupled with warmer temperatures and stronger El Niño patterns increase Fiji’s susceptibility to deadly food- and water-borne diseases. Across Fiji’s two main islands, the number of cool nights has decreased and warmer days has increased since 1942. Tropical cyclones are predicted to decrease in frequency and increase in intensity. These changing weather patterns have worsened Fiji’s susceptibility to viral disease outbreaks. Fiji recorded a drought-induced outbreak of diarrheal disease in 2011, combatted a post-flood leptospirosis outbreak in 2012 and quelled a dengue outbreak in 2013.

Changing weather extremes threaten the livelihoods of the Fijian people—implicating Fiji’s ecosystems, on land and at sea. Saltwater intrusion from coastal flooding destroys farmland, disrupting the supply of staples in the Fijian economy and forcing communities to migrate to safer ground. The average asset losses due to tropical cyclones and floods are estimated at more than $500 million per year, representing more than 5% of Fiji’s GDP. Ocean acidification—or carbon pollution that increases the ocean’s acidity—will continue in Fiji, impacting the health of Fiji’s coral reef systems.

Countering the crisis will require collective action from the Fijian Government, the nation’s private sector and the world’s industrialised nations. Fiji remains at the frontline in advocating international policies to counter climate change. But internally, the nation requires technical expertise, human resources and financial capacity to fully implement protective measures. The private sector, other governments and international financial institutions can play key roles in helping Fiji mobilise financing to implement integral climate adaptation measures, as the country relies heavily on its natural resources for economic development, with fisheries, forestry and agriculture its primary industries.

Click here to read the full report from the Fijian Government.

Doing Business 2018 – Economy Profile

The Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.

The Doing Business project, launched in 2002, looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle.

Doing Business captures several important dimensions of the regulatory environment as it applies to local rms. It provides quantitative indicators on regulation for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures features of labour market regulation. Although Doing Business does not present rankings of economies on the labour market regulation indicators or include the topic in the aggregate distance to frontier score or ranking on the ease of doing business, it does present the data for these indicators.

By gathering and analysing comprehensive quantitative data to compare business regulation environments across economies and over time, Doing Business encourages economies to compete towards more efficient regulation; offers measurable benchmarks for reform; and serves as a resource for academics, journalists, private sector researchers and others interested in the business climate of each economy.

In addition, Doing Business offers detailed subnational reports, which exhaustively cover business regulation and reform in different cities and regions within a nation. These reports provide data on the ease of doing business, rank each location, and recommend reforms to improve performance in each of the indicator areas. Selected cities can compare their business regulations with other cities in the economy or region and with the 190 economies that Doing Business has ranked.

The first Doing Business report, published in 2003, covered 5 indicator sets and 133 economies. This year’s report covers 11 indicator sets and 190 economies. Most indicator sets refer to a case scenario in the largest business city of each economy, except for 11 economies that have a population of more than 100 million as of 2013 (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Russian Federation and the United States) where Doing Business, also collected data for the second largest business city. The data for these 11 economies are a population-weighted average for the 2 largest business cities. The project has benefited from feedback from governments, academics, practitioners and reviewers. The initial goal remains: to provide an objective basis for understanding and improving the regulatory environment for business around the world.

The distance to frontier (DTF) measure shows the distance of each economy to the “frontier,” which represents the best performance observed on each of the indicators across all economies in the Doing Business sample since 2005. An economy’s distance to frontier is reflected on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest performance and 100 represents the frontier. The ease of doing business ranking ranges from 1 to 190. The ranking of 190 economies is determined by sorting the aggregate distance to frontier scores, rounded to two decimals.

Click here to download the full report from World Bank Group.

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