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Fijian businesses benefit from upswing in trade with New Zealand and Australia

Small businesses say more exports are helping their communities in Fiji.

Fijian businesses say exporting their goods internationally is benefitting their communities and families.

High brand Fijian skincare labels Nama Fiji and Loloma Fiji are among those businesses who are taking advantage of an upswing in exports to New Zealand and Australia.

“We have been able to build and strengthen an agricultural supply chain.”

Managing Director of beauty products company Nama Fiji, Debra Sadranu, says that showcasing their products increases sales.

“Spas who do treatments with our brand are instantly showcasing the effects and benefits of the products which then generates interest and sales.

“This costs us nothing. However training the spas for product knowledge and treatment protocols is crucial.”

New Zealand and Australia are Fiji’s second and third largest export destinations, according to Fiji’s Trade Commissioner for Australia and New Zealand Mr.Daniel Stow.

He says there has been a 16 per cent increase in facilitated exports by the Trade Commission from Fiji to Australia and New Zealand in the past year.

An estimated $73 million was gained and they aim to see a further 20 per cent increase this year.

Mr. Stow says the relationship Fiji shares with Australia and New Zealand has arguably never been closer as there has never been a better time to do business with one another.

“The Fiji ‘brand’ is very strong and is synonymous with quality, sustainability & uniquely different.

“Strong demand for high-quality, niche products is seeing emerging commodities come out of Fiji such as ginger, turmeric, kava & coconut oil along with more traditional crops including dalo and cassava.”

But there are also challenges for Fijian businesses.

Agricultural exporters such as Happy Valley says the challenge is to find genuine customers who actually pay them.

“I have had bad experiences with customers who purchased from us and just did not pay,” says Happy Valley owner Poonam Nandani.

“This put a lot of financial stress on the business as my vegetables are both produced on our farms as well as procured from local farmers.”

Mr. Stow also says New Zealand and Australia also have varying high biosecurity standards and conditions for goods coming in from overseas, particularly fresh agricultural products, which can be challenging.

He says that this is not only crucial for their company and staff but also for the local women harvesters who are reliant on their supply contracts to earn much needed revenue for their villages and families.

Nandani says selling products in New Zealand and Australia brings real benefits to their families and communities.

“It has meant an improved disposable income for my family.

“The farmers from whom I buy vegetables are able to get a better price as compared to selling in the local market.”

Debra Sadranu, the Managing Director for Nama Fiji agrees:

“This is crucial not only for our company and staff but also for our women harvesters who are reliant on our supply contracts to earn much needed revenue for their village and families.”

Source: pmn.co.nz

 

Fiji’s economic return partly due to ‘government that listens to the private sector’

Fiji’s post-pandemic recovery has been impressive, built on its rebounding tourism sector and a new, investor-friendly government.

 

Fiji faced a significant economic downturn after international tourism, the backbone of its economy, came to a virtual standstill during COVID-19. But in the short couple of years since travel restrictions were lifted, Fiji has witnessed a phenomenal rebound, with an economic growth rate of 8.6 per cent last year and a current year projection of 8 per cent.

The recovery seems to have gained pace with the change in government earlier this year.

Speaking at the 2023 Business Advantage Papua New Guinea Investment Conference in Brisbane recently, Investment Fiji CEO Kamal Chetty commended the Fiji government’s role in fostering stability and implementing investor-friendly policie

Stability, coupled with initiatives like the economic summit, investment facilitation, and agency transformation, have been crucial in boosting investor confidence,’ he said.

The drive clearly comes from the highest levels of the new coalition government: in recent weeks two of Fiji’s three Deputy Prime Ministers were attending a major Fiji-focused business conference in Australia, while simultaneously, their third colleague was doing the same in New Zealand.

‘The fact that this conference has seen the highest number of attendees ever clearly reflects the interest in the new Fiji… it’s quite overwhelming,’ Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica said in Sydney.

Tourism returns

Chetty acknowledges tourism’s pivotal role in Fiji’s economic resurgence.

The country is currently facing high demand for new hotel rooms (any business traveller knows how hard it is to find accommodation in Suva). Plans are afoot to add 5,000 new rooms. The government is also working on developing tourism on the second-largest island of Vanua Levu, which could realise its potential, were requisite tourism infrastructure built. Also on the wish list are medical, wellness and sports tourism.

Meanwhile, Fiji Airways, the country’s flag carrier, has contributed handsomely to the tourist influx. As well as sharp pricing, the airline has brought in a slew of wide-bodied long-haul jets, adding new services and destinations.

This strategy has resulted in Fiji positioning itself as a cost-effective stopover destination, with a mushrooming of budget transit accommodation around Nadi Airport. There has been a surge in numbers of New Zealand flyers transiting Fiji to travel to both the west coast of the United States and Asian destinations. Expanding operations in the Australian market, it has added Canberra, on top of additional flights from other cities.

Diversification

While tourism remains a cornerstone, Fiji is actively exploring opportunities in other sectors. Diversification is a key strategy for Fiji’s economic stability, says Chetty, and agriculture and manufacturing are among the sectors being explored. Chetty adds that there is a notable shift in investment patterns, where businesses are now looking to diversify their supply chains, presenting opportunities for Fiji to participate because of its location and cost-effective labour.

The country is already known as a back-office hub, and the government is working to capitalise on this reputation. It is actively seeking investors to support this growth, focusing on knowledge process outsourcing – which would be a timely move as the threat of artificial intelligence looms.

Fiji has also been in the forefront of adopting measures and policies to combat climate change. Chetty says green energy and technology are two areas that the government is keen to work with investors on.

Chetty also believes Fiji and Papua New Guinea could take a leadership role working together, with innovative institutional financing of projects around the region.

‘The optimism in Fiji is palpable,’ he adds, attributing this optimism to political stability and ‘a government that listens to the private sector.’

https://www.businessadvantagepng.com/fijis-economic-return-partly-due-to-government-that-listens-to-the-private-sector/

Government commits to removing investment barriers for former citizens

All former Fiji citizens and descendants who are passport holders of other countries will not face any immigration issues when entering Fiji, says Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad.

He highlighted this while opening Oceania Fiberglass Pte. Ltd. in Nausori yesterday.

He says Fijians who are living overseas have Fiji in their hearts and minds all the time.

He adds that they are encouraged to see that many of them are returning, investing, and making sure they contribute with their finances, newfound skills, knowledge, and wisdom.

“We want to provide all the support and remove all the barriers and the bottlenecks that might have existed before. The Government has already changed that Immigration Law, and very soon, with the new regulations, all former Fiji citizens and their descendants who left Fiji and are holding other passports will no longer need a permit when they come to Fiji.

Prasad also shared that it is always an auspicious occasion when local businesses open and provide services in the local and international markets.

He says employment opportunities are created, and contributions to the country’s GDP increase.

Meanwhile, Oceania Fiberglass Pte Ltd., the sole manufacturer of fiberglass products in Fiji, has made an investment of half a million dollars and currently employs 20 staff.

They aim to employ 100 people in the next two years.

https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/government-commits-to-removing-investment-barriers-for-former-citizens/

Fiji Airways is Best Airline and Staff in Australia and Pacific

Fiji Airways, Fiji’s National Carrier has been recognised as the Skytrax Best Airline in Australia & the Pacific at the prestigious 2023 World Airline Awards, held last night at the Paris Air Show.

In 2022, Fiji Airways was ranked third in the region – behind Qantas (which has won the award for the last four years) and Air New Zealand.  This year, we have leap-frogged our two largest competitors to be declared Best Airline in Australia & the Pacific.

This is the first time that the National Airline has won this accolade while also retaining the award for the Skytrax Best Airline Staff in Australia & the Pacific for the third year in a row.

Fiji Airways has also improved its ranking in the Global Top 100 airlines, leapfrogging from 36th in 2022 to 15th in 2023 to finish ahead of Qantas (17th), British Airways (18th) and Air New Zealand (19th).

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mr Andre Viljoen says these are big wins for a small airline in a highly competitive region for commercial aviation.

“Our unwavering commitment to quality service delivery is reason that Fiji Airways is today the Best in Australia and the Pacific. We may not have as much resources as larger airlines, but we have the Fijian spirit of hospitality and care. As the National Airline, we embrace and champion these values in everything we do, and this sets us apart as an airline.”

A high level delegation from Fiji Airways was in Paris, France last night to receive the awards on behalf of the company.

“I want to congratulate all the employees of Fiji Airways for these two awards for without their hard work and consistency, we would not be where we are today. I am confident the organisation will put as much effort into all our future endeavours and strive for excellence,” Mr Viljoen added.

“The fact that these awards are determined purely on guest feedback makes our two accolades all the more special. Our customers have consciously chosen Fiji Airways above all the other participating airlines in the region.”

Travellers across the world voted in the largest airline passenger satisfaction survey to determine the award winners with more than 20 million entries, and more than 325 airlines featured in the final results.

Fiji Airways is committed to Working as One to Deliver Exceptional Fijian Experiences not just with our service standards on-board, but at every customer perception point.

The National Airline continues to innovate, and introduce new strategies to grow the company, increase revenue and expand our global network.

Previous winners for Best Airline Australia and the Pacific are as follows: 

2022 – Qantas
2021 – Qantas
2019 – Qantas
2018 – Qantas

Fiji Airways Global Top 100 rankings:

2023 – 15th
2022 – 36th
2021 – 54th
2019 – 45th

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no awards for 2020.

https://www.fijiairways.com/en-us/media-centre/best-airline-and-staff-in-australia-and-pacific?fbclid=IwAR0tFjQWVoJJvlyS3CMmUS202_d5tlz6f5DOtNMidtuxXemILv647NIKGQE

Fiji’s Growing Outsourcing Industry

[See full article here on Outsource Fiji website]

As the demand for workforce in the BPO, KPO, and shared services sector increases, more and more international businesses choose to outsource their operations to countries, such as India and the Philippines can meet this demand. During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses operating in these larger countries struggled to operate, whereas Fiji began to outshine them through the Fijian Government’s successful efforts in containing the virus, allowing businesses in Fiji’s outsourcing (OS) industry to continue operations without many disruptions. This gave Fiji leverage in marketing itself as a risk diversification outsourcing destination.

During the pandemic, the Fijian Government also announced the industry as an essential service provider due to Fiji’s ability to quickly adapt to the pandemic’s work-from-home model; Fiji’s high-quality workforce; and the introduction of tax incentives for the industry, which attracted many international BPOs, KPOs, and shared service providers to move part of their operations from larger outsourcing countries, into Fiji.

“What we see in Fiji is that there is an eagerness to learn; the attrition rates are
actually very attractive compared to some of the other locations; and people in Fiji
see the BPO sector as a true career path” – Alan Graham, Chief Commercial Officer,
Mindpearl

Fiji’s Outsourcing Industry contributes approximately AUD$160 million per annum to the Fijian economy and is expected to triple in the years to come. The success of this industry has been made possible through the support of the Fijian Government, the improved infrastructure and technological advancement, and the leveraging of Fiji’s many natural advantages, which make Fiji the ideal choice for outsourcing service delivery.

“The resilience that comes with the Pacific people is not one that comes easily to any other place. They bring their best, whether it’s the worst cyclone or the COVID pandemic, and 98% of our workforce building resilience in business continuity by working from home, and delivering the best service can attest to that. And with the right outlook, the right investment, the right infrastructure and governance process, I think there are enormous opportunities here in Fiji.” – Mr Ritesh Singh, Former Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer, ANZ Pacific Operations.

Today, Fiji has several BPO’s, KPO’s, shared services centres, and global business centres providing services for well-known brands across the globe and are continuing to grow. Currently, Fiji’s outsourcing industry provides employment to approximately 8000 Fijians with the potential to increase to 25,000 employees by 2025.

What Fiji Offers
There are many reasons why businesses choose to outsource their work functions to other countries, including Fiji; some of the major reasons are to save operations costs, maneuver the company into a more competitive position, and solve manpower issues without the cost of hiring more employees. As a premium outsourcing destination, Fiji has been able to fill in these gaps for its international clients.
As part of its marketing campaigns, Outsource Fiji has been able to successfully promote Fiji through our brand, which is a helping hand gesture that represents our people and their excellent service culture, and their ability to deliver an excellent customer experience.

In line with our brand, we have been marketing Fiji with the following:

1. Skilled Workforce

Young and Tech-Savvy Workforce – With a young educated labor force with, excellent command of the English language with a neutral accent, Fiji presents unique opportunities for potential investments.
Inherent Service Culture -The people, with their inherent service culture, are well placed to serve the growing demand for global outsourcing services as a new, safe, and reliable outsourcing destination. Fiji is well known for friendly customer service and “bula” smiles. Partnering with our BPOs will ensure that your customers receive the best service which could translate into customer loyalty for your brand/company.

High Literacy Rate – Fiji is privileged to have a 96% literacy rate which puts us in a favorable position in comparison to other competing countries providing outsourcing services.

Access to a highly skilled workforce – Fiji has a talent pool of approximately 5,000 new graduates entering the workforce annually. Most entry-level employees in the outsourcing industry are university graduates.

Low Staff Turnover and Staff Loyalty- Jobs in the Outsourcing Industry are considered prestigious in the Pacific because of the working environment. The industry offers international job experience to the locals which keeps them motivated to stay with your brand and company for the long term. Jobs are limited in the Pacific so with every job advert it is likely that companies could receive over hundreds of applications from highly qualified candidates.

2. Culture & Stability

The Fijian culture is an extremely important part of why Fiji is ideal for operating business process outsourcing (BPO) companies. Fiji is considered the hub of the Pacific, connecting the Pacific islands with the rest of the world. The country has demonstrated stability and fosters a business-friendly environment to encourage investments.

Fiji has an ancient and living culture and this is celebrated by Outsource Fiji and its members. The genuine warmth and care of the Fijian people need to be experienced to be appreciated. You hear about the friendly people of Fiji but it is not until you encounter one of us that you will fully understand how the Fijian way of life integrates so harmoniously with the services BPO companies offer.

The Fijian culture is much about community and family, just so is our Fiji BPO Council’s commitment to our members and our clients. We represent a community of experts and offer world-class services in outsourcing.

3. Incentives
The Fijian Government is committed to steering Fiji toward economic prosperity through incentives such as:

● Eliminating business licensing
● Introducing tax incentives targeted at businesses and households
● Across-the-board reductions in customs tariffs and streamlining of processes
● Introducing Business Visitor Visa
All of these aim to improve the ease of doing business in Fiji, making us one of the most
competitive destinations for businesses. Via its Investment Fiji arm, the Government
offers several incentives to encourage BPOs to open delivery centers in Fiji, including:
● 20 – year tax holiday
● Duty-free equipment used in outsourcing centres
● Carry forward losses up to 8 years
● 25% investment allowance for the renovation of buildings
● 100% tax deduction for Employer superannuation contribution
● No stamp duty
● Employment taxation schemes enabling tax deductions as follows:
▪ 400% – employees with disabilities
▪ 300% – first-time employees
▪ 300% – work placements
▪ 300% – part-time workers
▪ 150% – employee development
▪ 150% – relating to family care
▪ 150% – relating to paternity leave

Infrastructure
● ICT
Having an ICT infrastructure that is reliable and affordable is key for the sustainability of the industry, and Outsource Fiji works with key stakeholders to provide tailored solutions for the Outsourcing sector. With direct access to the Southern Cross network cable, our network providers are consistently innovating solutions for Fiji’s Outsourcing Sector with competitive rates and exceptional support services.

Outsource Fiji is also grateful to the Fijian Government for its commitment to building a second landing station in the Western Division which will allow Fiji to become more resilient and reliable with our service offerings. The second landing station will help us avoid a single source of failure, allowing businesses to continue operations should there be a disaster like the one in Tonga.

The submarine fiber optic cable will also increase the stability of our telecommunication network and will strengthen Fiji’s position as the Pacific’s ICT hub, making Fiji truly a risk diversification location.

● Building
Our modern office building and OS operations-ready structures provide ease of operations and are in major towns and cities throughout Fiji with Suva (our capital city) being the hub for outsourcing operations. Moreover, to ensure the office spaces leased are in line with international best practices, Outsource Fiji in partnership with the Australian Government’s Market Development Facility has launched an Infrastructure and Office Fit-Out Standards Document for property owners and developers to use as a guideline when leasing out the property to businesses in Fiji’s outsourcing industry. In terms of building infrastructure, Outsource Fiji believes that growth is scalable with Major Business Park investments planned in the Kalabu Tax-Free Zone (developed by the Lyndhurst Group) and Navutu Lautoka (developed by FNPF), TFL business park in Suva by Telecommunications Fiji Limited (TFL), and Naisoso park (being developed by Tourism Capital Projects) and development in Sabeto, Nadi by Vulani Group.

To ensure uninterrupted and high-quality service, Fiji offers:

● Excellent transportation network (easy commute to work)
● 24*7 Electricity and Water Supply with backup support in case of emergency
● World-class International airport and Fiji’s International Airline

For more information about Fiji’s Outsourcing Industry, or to book a free consultation,
visit outsourcefiji.com today.

Fijian Government Tenders

Water Authority of Fiji invites bids for the following tenders:

– Supply of meter box

– Nagado WTP to Nadele pipeline construction, Nadi

– Construction of pipeline from Varaqe dam to Saru WTP, Lautoka

– Tasman Tank Actuator and SCADA installation works, Western region

Read more here.

 

Energy Fiji Limited invites bids for the following tenders:

– Design, Manufacture, Testing and Supply of Distribution Transformers

– Supply of Seven (7) x 48VDC Battery Chargers for the EFL’s Repeater Stations

– Refurbishment of 2 x T55 Fuel Storage Tanks at the EFL’s Sigatoka Power Station

Read more here.

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.

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