Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Speech at the Official Opening of Tappoo City

Bula Vinaka and a very good evening to you;

It gives me great pleasure to be with you here tonight to officially open a building that has already become an icon of the Suva cityscape – Tappoo City.

I’ve been told that the Suva City Council initially rejected this name, fearing that people would think we were renaming the city.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your minds at ease. We are still in Suva.

In fact, there will be many of you here tonight who will remember the Suva of yesterday – who, like me, fondly remember the way in which people used to get dressed up to come to town. It was that kind of place.

The city and its surrounding areas are home to many Fijians, who still care very deeply about their city. But we all know that Suva needs a facelift.

A modern Fiji needs a modern capital. And it is projects such as this – the one we are all here to celebrate – that lifts the tone of Suva. This building has raised the bar and has set a very high standard for everyone else.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as you will be aware, today I announced the 2013 National Budget, which laid out a bold program of investment in the future of Fiji.

While we introduced many new incentives and initiatives, my Government’s support for the private sector has been steadfast.

We believe that consistent and attractive policies are the best way to attract investment – investment that grows our economy, creates jobs and provides new opportunities for local businesses.

Often, the talk is of foreign investment. Yes, attracting foreign capital to our shores and opening up new international markets is a cornerstone of my Government’s policy. Equally, but perhaps even more importantly, we seek to support and facilitate investment by Fijian companies. We want Fijians to invest in Fiji.

And what better example for this is there than the Tappoo Group. Founded in 1941, it has had an unwavering presence in Fiji since then. It has made significant contributions to Fiji over the years, and for that I extend my thanks.

Indeed, only on this past Tuesday I presented the Tappoo family company with the Gold Card Certificate that acknowledges that it is an excellent taxpayer.

Theirs is also a very good example of all that can be achieved when entrepreneurs not only make money, but are also good and law abiding businesses.

I encourage other business houses to follow this lead.

But we must also not forget the responsibilities we have to each other. It is the duty of Government to make sure there is modern infrastructure and that the right policies are in place to encourage investment and grow the economy.

And it is the responsibility of the private sector to seize available opportunities, act decently and honestly – especially in relation to its workers – and contribute toward the overall wellbeing of the nation.

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, with an hour-and-a-half Budget speech and a further address to the nation, I think I have done enough talking for one day.

It gives me great pleasure to declare Tappoo City open.

Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.