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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 30, 2002 – Radio Australia)---The growing number of unscrupulous foreign investors entering Fiji has forced the country’s Trade and Investment Bureau to more carefully scrutinize foreign investment proposals.

As Radio Australia correspondent Ofa Kaukimoce reports, the bureau has rejected a dozen foreign investment proposals in the past 12 months because those behind the proposals were not bona fide investors.

"The crackdown is to avoid granting investment certificates to unwanted foreigners that enter the country under the pretext of investment.

"The Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau has withdrawn the foreign investment certificates of at least two Asian Companies in the past 12 months.

"It has also recommended the withdrawal of the foreigners’ work permits.

"The crackdown comes hard on the heels of media reports of shady business dealings involving Asian entrepreneurs.

"The bureau’s chief executive, Mr. Jesoni Vitusagavulu, says his team has adopted a more thorough approach in assessing applications by foreign investors.

"Mr. Vitusagavulu says the FTIB has preferred a "self regulation" approach to compliance, whereby it accepts that investors will adhere to the conditions contained in their investment proposal.

"The FTIB is prepared to review all projects it approved in recent months to ensure compliance with investment conditions. If the review discovers serious breaches in compliance, it will withdraw the foreign investment certificates of the foreign companies concerned. This will also mean the deportation of the foreign investors concerned.

"For Radio Australia news, I’m Ofa Kaukimoce."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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