Fiji news round-up: Outsourcing visas; New luxury hotel

Feb 20, 2024 | Blog, News

This Fiji news round-up comes through the courtesy of Islands Business Magazine.

Fiji to pilot outsourcing of some passport and visa services
Fiji’s Cabinet has given green light for the piloting of outsourcing of some passport and visa services. The initiative will establish application centres domestically and in key Australian cities. A government statement emphasised the pilot would be at no direct cost to the government, and says it aims for improved efficiency. The Immigration Department, Ministry of Finance, and the Solicitor-General’s Office are working together to select vendors and finalise legislative requirements. Fiji’s immigration and passport processing services have been under pressure for some time.

Rosie goes electric
The Rosie Travel Group is the latest company to signal its plans to bring in electric vehicles. Rosie will bring the first fully electric passenger vehicle—a 7-seater MPV from China, in what General Manager, Eroni Puamau calls a multi-million-dollar investment. Rosie has also partnered with Solar Hub to find charge the vehicle.

Luxury hotel project unveiled in Wailoaloa
Hari Punja Group has unveiled plans for a lavish 5-star hotel at Wailoaloa Beach, Nadi. With 258 rooms and a $220 million budget, the project, managed by Rydges Australia, is due for completion by June 2026. The group is also developing prime residential land and commercial blocks at Wailoaloa, reflecting a significant investment in Fiji’s tourism and real estate sectors.

Nadi hotel to reopen
Meanwhile, the Maharaj Group PTE has a signed a $14million deal to lease the Emirates Hotel in Nadi. The long-shuttered Kennedy Avenue Hotel will be leased by the Maharaj Group for six months, after which the company will buy the property. It plans to reopen the Emirates Hotel next month.

Fiji government consulting on National Development Plan
The Fiji Government is running consultations across the country on the National Development Plan it is currently formulating. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad, highlights the NDP’s focus on practical solutions, informed by extensive public consultations. The plan, spanning three, five and 20 years, aims to address social, economic, and political challenges, ensuring Fiji’s sustainable development. A schedule of consultations and draft fact sheets on its various sectors can be seen on the government website.

APTC offers micro-credential courses
The Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) has launched a fully subsidised micro-credential program, aimed at upskilling Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme workers. With a focus on addressing skill gaps and fostering entrepreneurship, the micro-courses aim to contribute to the sustainable economic development of Pacific Island nations.

Women’s Economic Empowerment National Action Plan to be developed
Fiji’s cabinet has endorsed the development of a new Women’s Economic Empowerment National Action Plan spanning 2024-2029. The plan will aim to address entrenched barriers hindering women’s participation in the economy, citing challenges such as gender-based violence, limited access to resources, and biased policies.

FHL reports strong performance in Half-Year Results
The Fijian Holding Limited (FHL) Group has announced a robust performance for the half year ending December 31, 2023. With an unaudited profit before tax of $39.28 million from a total revenue of $199.13 million, the Group has shown significant growth compared to the same period last year. Despite concerns over the modest performance in the building and construction sector, solid performances from core subsidiaries, particularly in tourism, retail, and finance, have bolstered the Group’s portfolio. However, challenges such as the loss of skilled labour, inflation, and rising commodity prices are expected to impact performance in the remaining months of the financial year. The Group emphasises its strategic focus on alignment, addressing under-performing assets, improved governance, and investments in automation and digital initiatives to sustain growth.

Kinetic Growth Fund announces Net Asset Value
Kinetic Growth Fund Ltd has reported an unaudited net asset backing of 98 cents per share as of January 31, 2024. The Fund, trading at $1.17 per share on the South Pacific Stock Exchange last week, has reminded its shareholders of potential adjustments during the annual audit process.

Ministry name change
Fiji’s Ministry of Employment, Productivity, and Industrial Relations will undergo a name change from August 1 to encompass ‘Workplace Relations’. The revamped nomenclature underscores efforts to foster harmonious tripartite relations and productive work environments.