Mining & Landowners, Fiji Holdings Ltd., US Relations, Cruise Ship Cancelled

MINING: LANDOWNERS TO BENEFIT. Minister for Land and Mineral Resources Netani Sukanaivalu said the  Mining Act will be reviewed to rectify loopholes and ensure that landowners can have a fair share of money derived from mineral resources, which has not been the case in the past.

Sukanaivalu says government is committed to ensuring the best returns to landowners, and is now paying compensation for any damage done to lands being explored. It is also paying for royalties and landowners are given the first employment opportunity for any mining work or exploration done on their land.

FIJI HOLDINGS LIMITED was established in 1984 as a response by chiefs and people to accelerate i-Taukei participation in the economy.  Shareholders include provincial councils, the Native Land Trust Board, the i-Taukei Affairs Board, tikina (district) and village groups, i-Taukei co-operatives, individual i-Taukei and family companies. FHL today is a successful and profitable enterprise which has become a major player in Fiji's corporate sector.

At its annual shareholders meeting last week, FHL revealed that there are plans for a partnership between Fiji's largest i-Taukei company, Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL), and the business arms of the country's 14 provincial councils.

Group managing director Sereana Qoro  said the partnership would allow FHL to advise, manage and help provincial councils advance during the current economic climate, and provide opportunities for provincial companies to secure joint venture businesses with potential business investors. The Group gives  i-Taukei significant shareholding in major companies and helps to achieve the national objective of bringing i-Taukei fully into the mainstream of the country's economic life.

It was reported that FHL will divest its entire investments in two major companies —  Good Luck Investments (the holding company for Novotel and Mecure hotels in Nadi) and in Minjesk Investments Ltd (the holding company of Suva Private Hospitals) that had not  generating dividend incomes for the investment company. FHL has also announced the incorporation of overseas subsidiaries into FHL, a first in its 25 year history. Pasifika Holdings Ltd and Pasifika Finance Ltd, wholly owned subsidiaries have been incorporated in PNG to capitalize on the growing opportunities in that market. At the end of June this year, FHL Group recorded a pre-tax profit of $17.6 million compared to the $55.1 million pre-tax profit for the same period last year.

NEW US AID OFFICE IN SUVA. Given the pressures to remove several regional offices from Suva and relocate them in Samoa, Vanuatu or elsewhere, Hillary Clinton's announcement that the new US Agency for International Development will be built in Suva is especially interesing.

CRUISE SHIP CANCELLATIONS. Thousands of Australian tourists due in Fiji in November have had their holiday cruise plans decked after P&O Cruises was forced to cancel two trips on its Pacific Jewel liner because of engine propulsion problems. The October cruise was also cancelled. The 70,000 tonne ship, which carries over 2,600 passengers and crew, would have visited Dravuni in the Kadavu Group, Suva and Nadi as part of an eight ports and four countries cruise.


Jackpot said…
Why is Fijian Holdings divesting itself of Good Luck Investments? Sounds like the perfect vehicle for the new casino.
Howdy partner said…
The announcement of the new US AID office in Suva is hugely important, especially in a symbolic sense. The most powerful nation on earth has made an emphatic statement that Suva is the centre of the South Pacific region, irrespective of who runs the country. In one fell swoop, Washington has destroyed any notion of regional organisations relocating and the grand pretensions of people like the Samoan PM. It's also a big setback for the Aussies and the Kiwis in their attempts to isolate Fiji in the Forum and other international bodies. We need to be aware, however, that this decision by the US has been taken after explicit assurances from the regime that it will stick to its promise to hold an election in 2014. It's no coincidence that it came so soon after US secretary of state Hilary Clinton met our own Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. The Americans want an election in 2014 and unlike the Aussies and the Kiwis, are prepared to give Frank Bainimarama the benefit of the doubt. But if he reneges, he'll be toast. Or certainly flapjack.
snoopy said…
@Howdy is 100% correct. The message this sends is hugely important. There are many people who have given Banimarama the benefit of time to make the institutional changes that are required in Fiji but he will not have little support if he tries to push past 2014.

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