DEPUTY PM LAGITUPU TUILIMU OPENS TUVALU BUSINESS CENTRE

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VAIAKU, Funafuti, Tuvalu (July Edition – Tuvalu Echoes)---The Tuvalu Business Center celebrated its official opening on Friday evening the 16th of July. Invited guests included the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and Minister for Tourism, Trade and Commerce, the Hon. Lagitupu Tuilimu, the Minister for Health, Women and Community Affairs and Minister for Education and Culture, the Hon. Teagai Esekia, and the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and Minister for Internal Affairs and Rural Development, the Hon. Faimalaga Luka. Additional guests including members of Parliament, the Secretary to Government, senior Government officials, plus members of both the public and private sectors.

The guests were welcomed by Mr. Michael Fong, head of the Centre Business Advisory Unit, followed by a Prayer from the General Secretary for EKT, Mr. Penitusi Tacia.

The Hon. Lagitupu Tuilimu then gave a speech in which he recalled the events leading up to the opening of the Business Centre. In his speech the Hon Deputy Prime Minister told guests that the Tuvalu Business Centre "will contribute to employment creation, income opportunity, and foreign earnings," that "it will encourage an environment of sustainable economic opportunity," and that "it will do this through business skills training, practical advice on business opportunities and facilitation of export oriented activities, while providing extension services for technology, finance and information." He closed his speech by stating that "on behalf of the Government of Tuvalu" he pledged his support for the centre's activities and wished it and the people of Tuvalu much success in the future.

Mr. Desh Sahae, Chief Technical Advisor for the United Nations Development Programme, thanked the Hon. Minister for his kind words and assured him and the Government of Tuvalu of continued UNDP assistance and support for the project under which the Tuvalu Business Centre was created.

Mr. Fong then took the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Tuilimu and esteemed guests on a tour of the facility. The tour began with the official ribbon cutting and included a viewing of the offices, the reference library, and the training workshop, where the tour concluded with a demonstration on the making by hand of new paper from waste paper. The guests were impressed with the demonstration of a type of a business that can be successfully profitably run on a small scale.

The evening was completed with food and drink.

During the course of the celebration, the beautiful ladies of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Commerce entertained the guests with especially created SIVA.

By all reports, the evening was very successful and guests and staff left the celebration confident in the continued success of both the Tuvalu Business Centre as well as its future efforts and activities on behalf half of the people of Tuvalu.

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