Australian Investment In Fiji Declining: Assistant Minister

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Aussie projects make up only 3.4 percent of private investment

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 29, 2015) – Recent trends have indicated that Australian investment in Fiji is declining.

This was revealed by Assistant Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Lorna Eden at the 2015 Exploratory Investment Mission in Suva yesterday.

"Sadly, Australian investment in Fiji is lagging behind when we want investment to grow," Ms Eden said.

"Recent trends have indicated that Australian investment in our country is declining; in 2014 total registered Australian projects were 3.4 per cent, or $43.6million [US$21.4 million], of the total private investments in Fiji," she said.

She said this was well behind other countries when it came to tapping investment opportunities in Fiji.

"This positive growth is attributed to the booming investment (which has been recording over 25 per cent of the GDP in the past two years and the same forecast for this year), growing the manufacturing base (this includes, food, building materials, garments to name a few) and the strong tourism industry."

She told the 10 Australian investors that the tourism industry alone contributed approximately 34 per cent to the Fijian gross domestic products.

"2014 was a bumper year for tourism as visitor arrivals increased by 5.3 per cent and earnings increased by 6.6 per cent and over half our total visitors, or 349,217, were Australians and they contributed to 54 per cent of the total earnings."

However, she said, missions such as the one yesterday was a positive sign ahead in the Fiji-Australia relations.

"We envisage more Australian investors taking advantage of the incentives provided and also being part of the Fijian boom."

Reserve Bank of Fiji chief manager financial institutions Esala Masitabua said Fiji needed to close the gap between exports and imports between the two countries.

Mr Masitabua said Fiji imports more than export to Australia.

Investment Fiji Sector Promotion and Investment manager Ritesh Gosai said Fiji's total import from Australia was $859.33m [US$421.06 million] while exported $299.74m [US$146.87 million] in 2014.

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