Lawyers Cocktail, Economy Predictions, Corruption Suspected, Advice to Indigenous Business

DON'T MISS WEEKEND POSTINGS:  More rubbish from Tupuola on Fiji military, Women and Poverty, Bainimarama address to Arab League,  Parmesh Chand on Public Sector Reform, Allen Lockington's regular column,  Reserve Bank help to Small Business, Feleti Sevele talks sense, New Aussie PM.

Quote for the Week
Journalists say a thing they know isn't true in the hope that if they go on saying it long enough, it will be true.  Arnold Bennett.

KIDS FLY FREE.  Air Pacific is offering a free return seat for one child accompanied by one adult (two children with mum and dad) for sale up until August 15, and for travel between September 2010 and February 2011. Call your travel agent now. Note: This blog offers free advertising to companies that assist the Fiji economy.

NEW FORMATS FOR COMPANION BLOGS. Your opinions on the new format on this and the companion blog Na Sala Cava would be most welcome. Click Directions icon in right sidebar. I will be publishing a new Na Salan Cava question soon. Your ideas for questions also most welcome.

(o) LOOKING NORTH, LONGTIME. A thoughtful article by Australian Lowy Institute intern and New Zealand Freyberg Scholar pursuing a Master's in Strategic Studies at ANU.  Read in full.

(G) SOLICITOR GENERAL'S COCKTAIL. More than 130 lawyers, members of the judiciary and former High Court judges from across Fiji attended the SG Christopher Pryde's inaugural SG Bar & Bench 2010 Cocktail at the Fiji Club on Friday. The occasion provided an opportunity for Government lawyers to get to better know their colleagues in the profession, and to welcome the overseas judges and magistrates to Fiji.

In his welcome, Mr Pryde said: “We now have judges and magistrates from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and more recently, Sri Lanka. The profession would like to welcome and to commend the overseas judges for their courage in coming to Fiji to take up judicial office, especially knowing the difficulties they have faced with their decision. A strong competent legal profession and an independent judiciary is the way forward for Fiji."

(o) RESERVE BANK PUSHES FOR COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE. The Bank has set aside $20 million to assist new and existing local businesses engaged in commercial agriculture, in a move intended to help cushion economic deficiencies in the country. Bank initiatives include:
  • The Import Substitution Facility to assist large scale commercial agricultural businesses obtain concessional credit at concessional rates of interest,
  • Institutional reforms resulting in the establishment of the Financial Systems Development and Compliance Group, formed to ensure the development and provision of microfinance services to the greater Fijian community,
  • A National Inclusion Taskforce responsible for driving and promoting microfinance and greater financial inclusion initiatives in Fiji.
The Bank has worked with the Government on various reform initiatives mainly in the export sector, import substitution and fiscal consolidation.

(o+) LIGHT AT END OF LONG TUNNEL. Reserve Bank Governor Sada Reddy expects structural reforms and reduced Government spending will provide a more positive business environment and, as conditions improve, space for private investment.

Meanwhile conditions will remain difficult;some businesses may need to consider adjustments such as product diversification and staff capacity, and the scope for microeconomic policies will remain limited. The country's balance of payment remains vulnerable due to poor performance in exports sector that has produced widening trade and current account deficit putting pressure on foreign reserves. Businesses should brace themselves to survive against these challenges. Reddy was speaking at the Indigenous Business Council meeting last week.

(+) FICAC INVESTIGATES SUSPICIOUS FOREST SALE. Fiji Forest Industries was a subsidiary of Fiji Pine Ltd with assets over $2 million before is was sold to Alec Chang for before it was sold by the previous Board to Alec Chang for $340,000.Chang has been taken in for questioning bu the corruption commission. Read more.

Advice to Indigenous Businesses

"Live together like brothers and do business like strangers"

Speaking at the Indigenous Business Council meeting Mark One Apparel CEO Mark Halabe urged businesses to adopt the Blue Ocean Strategy, not to limit themselves to what they are currently doing but to think outside the box in order to create new opportunities.

USP Marine Studies Dr Joeli Veitayaki said mistakes of business development in Fiji in the past gave rise to the need for sustainable development by Government and private enterprises. He urged members to strive for profits and sustainability.“While making money is your priority .. do it in an environment friendly way. Be creative and responsible at the same time. Think smart, act fast and consider ALL the costs."

Another speaker, Ms Eceli Koroi of Cakes 2000, warned member not to mix Fijian traditions with business. "Kerekere should be ruled out of your business management," she said, "My business is surviving [she now has three shops] because I make sure tradition do not interfere...I separate emotions from profession .. habits that hinder business are shown the exit door.”

PUSH TO ENGAGE INDIGENOUS FIJIANS IN COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE. Over the past five months some 200 farmers in Macuata Province have attended training sessions on how to conduct their farming activities as a business. Farmers were taught about time utilization, planning, budgeting, marketing skills, tools and equipment, and how to be innovative in livestock and crop farming.The Agriculture Department Department says it has been swamped with requests for more training, and agricultural advice on planting programmes.

The aim is to raise farming activities from subsistence to semi-commercial and commercial farming as a means of boosting family incomes, rural employment and food security -- aims that are consistent with Government's Roadmap.


Sada-speak hides real crisis said…
Sada Reddy seems to have become a master at massaging a dire situation into a golden opportunity and putting the best possible gloss on disaster. But even he must know this is all spin. Most sensible business people in Fiji know the country is in deep economic doo doo. There is no plausible "light at the end of the tunnel", as your hugely trusting headline indicates, Croz. You've got to go beyond Sada-speak and really examine what he's alluding to here. And it's all bad, especially the balance of payments crisis but the whole box and dice if you look at things dispassionately. Sada's advice to employers? "Consider adjustments such as product diversification and staff capacity. Hello? I'm already making crap that no-one can buy because they don't have any lavo. And consider staff capacity? How can anyone with any conscience right now look good, honest people in the eyes and tell them that they're on the street because Sada suggested it. I must be living in a parallel universe but what light at the end of what tunnel? Please, Croz, can you turn your considerable mind to trying to get a realistic appraisal of the current economic situation in Fiji? A big special feature tapping into people who really know what's going on, rather than the spinmeisters, would be deeply appreciated right now. No-one seems to be reflecting what I'm hearing everywhere. And that is that the country is stuffed.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Sada-speak ... I would welcome your assessment of the economic situation together with comments on how Fiji got there, how responsible is this government, how overseas sanctions are affecting the situation, what the government is doing about it, and what you think should be done. In other words,an objective personal assessment that is not trying to make political points, but is genuinely seeking ways to improve the economic situation.

Indeed, I would welcome your regular contributions on economic - and other - matters. These can be published as comments but I would prefer you to email me (I promise anonymity)so that I can publish your contributions as full features. This would also give me the editorial opportunity to comment on your contributions, seeking clarification and examples, before publication. Similarly, if we were in email contact, I could ask your opinion on economic and other matters before I publish.

You might also consider whether you'd like a regular weekly or fortnightly column.My email address is
Sa sega ni rawa, saka. said…
Sorry, Croz, too dangerous. I'm too well known in Fiji to risk exposure at any level whatsoever. We are not in a normal situation and won't be until democracy is restored. Nothing less than total adulation or that catch all- being "for Fiji" - is acceptable for this regime and especially the PM and AG. So no-one I know is willing to put their head above the parapet for fear of getting it knocked off. Even if you're basically sympathetic to the regime's aims, it's still not appreciated unless you're 100 per cent in favour of the new order. Not 85 per cent or 90 per cent... 100 per cent. Look at your own recent visit to Fiji. You'd imagine they'd have welcomed you with open arms and showered you with thanks for sticking up for their basic aims in such a consistent and public manner. Yet the word is they were never going to give you the audiences with the top people you'd asked for. Why? Because you've publicly urged them to do things that make them feel uncomfortable ( like begin the consultative process) and are not slavish enough in your support for the regime. By taking even a moderate line, you're in the same boat as the likes of Akuila Yabaki. OK but too independent and certainly Not One of Us. That's what the PER and the Media Decree are all about - shutting down any public discourse that questions the official line. No-one in business with any reputation says anything, even when the most ridiculous claims are made by the regime. And I'm not going to come out of my little closet either, for you or anyone else. But never mind what I say. Just look at the stats. You don't have to be pushing a political barrel, as you obliquely suggest that I'm doing. It's all there. As a matter of fact, I can't stand the SDL, Qarase or any of the other pig headed Fijian supremacists who are at the root of nearly all our problems. But nor to do I have to slavishly worship an unelected dictator casting himself as some kind of saviour of the nation nor kow tow to the poseur he's installed as the AG and minister for practically everything. This is the problem with dictatorships. No checks and balances and a lot of emperors wandering about with no clothes. Another reason why I'm staying in the closet. But thanks for the offer.
J. Valeono said…
Does everyone seriously believe Alec Chang and the other members of the Tropic and Fiji Pine boards are stupid enough to sell FFI for only $350k? There has got to be more to the deal we haven't heard about.

Only in Fiji do the authorities seize all your assets and shut down your operation, and then launch an investigation to find a cause a few weeks later.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Sa saga ni rawa ... A great pity. I have so much to learn from you. Please communicate through a trusted intermediary or, failing this, please take up my offer to write one or two (or more) anonymous articles on the economy or whatever. Post them to comments, that cannot be traced, and I will "upgrade" them to articles.

The only "top" people I'd asked to meet and didn't were the PM and Filipe Bole. Intrigued how you knew about my proposed itinerary, or were you quessing after the fact?

Am I wasting my time on my blog? Who, if anyone, is it informing or influencing?

Sincere best wishes, Croz
Peter F said…
Hang in there. You are the only blogsite that currently has debate at a sensible level operating. I am surprised that there seems to be no interest in your interview with the big fella . His Public Service changes are required no matter who is in power. His (and Renus) history both in NZ and Fiji pre and post Qarase would make a good book someday. Your visit was common knowledge in the relevant areas of the PS but only as general knowledge there was no official line.
PS insider said…
Croz, yes your visit was common knowledge in the PS . The one you really wanted was Frank. There were discussions on this between Tikoduadua, the PM and Minfo. The PM passed. No hard feelings. He just doesn't like blogs, doesn't read them and doesn't think they're important. He doesn't like anyone else reading them either. But that you already know.

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