Posts tagged bainamarma


Bula vinaka and good afternoon to you all.

It’s a pleasure to be with you to break ground at a $200-million project in the Province of Ba: a new wharf and ship-loading infrastructure to export Fiji’s first-ever mined iron sand.

Today is an auspicious occasion for me. Because of weather delays last week that delayed the Military hand-over ceremony, it marks my first official event as your civilian Prime Minister. And I am glad my first day as a civilian Prime Minister is to participate in the ground ceremony for the first ever iron sand mining project in Fiji.

Yesterday was a very moving day as I said farewell to the RFMF so that I can form my political party and lead it into this year’s general election. I will make concrete announcements on the new party in the coming weeks.

My resolve is now stronger than ever to bring Fiji into an age of prosperity and opportunity for all. To continue our focus on important issues like improving health services around the country, creating new jobs that pay a living wage, continuing our fight against corruption, improving services and upgrading our infrastructure into the 21st century.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When Amex Resources was granted a lease for their iron sands project, which includes the construction of this new wharf in Lautoka, it was only after careful consideration of the big picture, of how it will impact Fiji and Fijians in the long-term.

Iron sand is used to create steel and is very popular, particularly in the growing economies of the world. We have healthy deposits of it here in Fiji, but we must carefully consider all aspects of mining for such a resource, including the impact on environment before any mining licence can be granted. This of course was exactly what happened in Amex’s case. I am happy to announce that Amex has met with all the compliance requirements and we are glad to partner with them.

Amex will invest over 200 million Fijian dollars. The chief part of Amex Resources’ investment is the construction of a new wharf and ship-loading facility that is specifically designed to export minerals, which we are breaking ground for today.

The concentrate that is dredged from the Ba Delta will be transported here, where it will be processed and then exported to markets overseas. Production could rise as high as 1.5 million tonnes a year.

I’m very pleased to note that rather than using trucks to transport the product from Ba to Lautoka – which would clog up the roads and damage them – the company will use barges, an innovative idea applauded by my Government. I hope other companies carting such heavy loads will follow Amex’s example.

The Lautoka Port facility will include a berth, a barge unloading facility, a washing plant, a stockpile area, ship-loading infrastructure, as well as workshops and offices. I am also very pleased to note that MCCO one of the top 5 mining facility construction companies in the World is partnering in this project. I welcome them to Fiji.

All told, the construction of these facilities – together with the purchase of a specialised marine fleet – represent a $180-million investment. This is in addition to the $25-million the Company has already spent on exploration and other associated works.

We expect the project to create 300 jobs – both skilled and unskilled – for Fijians in Ba and Lautoka. Of course, this does not include the various flow-on benefits it will have on employment and economic activity in the province of Ba and across Fiji.

As I’ve said before, it’s about appointing the best people for the job. Amex Resources, a listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange with major shareholders in China, is a reputable company that has the necessary experience and know-how to oversee these works and bring them to a successful conclusion.

But earlier, I mentioned the big picture. Not only will this project boost the Fijian economy and create jobs, it will also complement Government’s efforts to dredge the Ba Delta, thereby reducing the frequency and intensity of flooding during heavy rains and cyclones.

We all know how damaging and horrifying it is when a river bursts its banks and the floodwaters rise. Within the last couple years alone, we’ve suffered a number of devastating episodes. There’s hardly a person in Fiji who hasn’t felt the impact of flooding in one way or another.

So the fact that this project will help prevent that sort of devastation in the future is a cause for great celebration.

But, Ladies and Gentlemen, there’s an even bigger picture to consider and it’s the growing sense of optimism about Fiji’s economy as we see investments of all sorts ramp up around the country.

This year our economy is expected to grow by as much as 3.6%, following growth last year as well.

New job advertisements are up by 14%, new bank loans for investment have risen by 109%, and as of last November, imports of investment goods have increased by 27%.

However, you don’t need these figures to know that things are picking up.  Just look around. Everywhere you can see new investment, construction projects – big and small, job creation, demand for services and overall an expectation that things are going to keep getting better.

Clearly, as I’ve said before, the savviest investors aren’t waiting until after the election to take advantage of all the incentives and concessions that are already in place.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have to be careful when talking about economic growth not to lose track of what it’s all about at the end of the day.

Growing the economy is about creating opportunity for Fijians. Whether it’s a new job or sustaining a job with good working conditions. Whether it’s starting a small business or expanding a larger one. We care about economic growth because we want to create these sorts of opportunities for our people.

We want jobs and economic opportunities for our young people that offer good career prospects. We want growth and success for Fijian businesses, big or small. We want every Fijian to earn a living that can support them and their families.

That’s the bottom line and that’s why my Government has spent so much time and effort to make the necessary reforms and put in place smart and consistent policies.

I’m proud to say that in Fiji over the last seven years we haven’t cut corners for short-term gain. We’ve put in place a detailed roadmap for reform across a broad front and we’ve stuck to it. We have not veered nor have we strayed. It’s about setting rules and those same rules must apply to everybody.

It hasn’t been about doing things the quickest way, or doing things the easiest way, or doing things the cheapest way, it’s been about doing things the right way. Whether it’s building our roads, writing our Constitution, educating our children, assisting Fijian investors, or attracting foreign investment, the same holds true.

My Government is committed to doing it the right way and creating meaningful change and lasting benefits in a transparent manner for the nation that we all love so dearly.

Of course, the overall success of our program depends on productive partnerships. In that regard, we look forward to the continuing success of our partnership with Amex Resources.

With those words, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to officially break ground for Amex Resources’ Lautoka Port facility.

Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.


Bula vinaka, a very good morning to you all, Ni Hao

I’m delighted to be here with my family to join you in celebrating the most important festival on the Chinese calendar.

More than a billion people in China itself and many millions more Chinese around the world are marking the same occasion – when the Year of the Snake becomes the Year of the Horse.

So a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all!

This is traditionally a time when Chinese people everywhere return home to celebrate with family and friends and Fiji is no exception.

In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a big gathering of Chinese people in Fiji before. It’s certainly a sign of how vibrant the community is that this celebration is taking place on such a grand scale.

The history of the Chinese community in Fiji stretches back almost 200 years. And while they may have been relatively small in number, Chinese Fijians have made an immense contribution to our national life and continue to do so.

We are building One Nation and you are all an important part of that effort.

The Year of the Horse is going to be a momentous year for Fiji. This sign in the Chinese zodiac symbolises strength, loyalty and hard work – all attributes that we will need as we move towards establishing our new democracy, with opportunity and justice for all – without discrimination.

The coming weeks and months promise to be challenging and also immensely exciting. Everything my Government and I have worked for over the past seven years is coming to a climax with the general election before the end of September. When the new Parliament is chosen – with every Fijian 18 years and over having an equal say for the first time – our revolution will be largely complete. But I want to stress that the task of building our new and better Fiji will be only just beginning. The foundation will have been laid but the real hard work is still to come.

We cannot afford to deviate as a nation from the brighter course that we have set ourselves. We have created a level playing field for every Fijian child. We are giving them free primary and secondary school education and an unprecedented opportunity to go on to higher studies. We are building a smarter country. We are delivering basic services like electricity and water to many ordinary Fijians for the first time. Our nation stands proud and tall. But these opportunities are just the start. We must build on the progress we have made so far to take Fiji to much greater heights – to be the pre-eminent Pacific nation, a beacon of hope and an example to the rest of the world.

As you know, in some weeks I will stand down from the Military and a job I have dearly loved. I will be forming a political movement and I will be asking every Fijian – no matter who they are – to join me. Together, our task will be to fight a battle of ideas to determine the future of our nation. And in that battle of ideas, we intend to win.

We will not do so with arrogance. We will not do so by lying about the past or the future for that matter. On the contrary, we will offer a fresh vision for every Fijian and humbly seek their support. That vision will be laid out in detail during the election campaign. But I can tell you now that its foundation will be continuing stability, a healthy and vigorous economy and a climate that encourages new investment to create and sustain. The foundation of this stability ladies and gentlemen is the new Fijian constitution which amongst other things creates common and equal citizenry a prerequisite to any modern and successful nation-state.

Our young people of course want interesting, satisfying jobs. They want to travel, to see the world, to have their horizons broadened. They want satisfying, fulfilling lives. They want to make a difference. They care about our environment. They want sustainable development. They are our future – the new Fiji – and we must work as hard as we can, with them, to see their dreams fulfilled.

Thanks to my Government, our young people now have equal opportunity and the best chance Fijians have ever had to get an education and get on in life. It is not a handout. It is a leg-up.
It is to empower the youth of our country. It is to build individual and national capacity. It is to ensure that we have educated and wise leaders to take Fiji forward.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the start of a landmark year, an auspicious year, full of hope and promise.

I thank you all for the opportunity to share this moment with you, to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. Let us all join in celebrating the Year of the Horse.

Vinaka Vakalevu,
Thank you, Cher Cher Ni.



Thousands of people today braved the drizzling rain and strong winds to join the President His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to officially farewell Fijian troops leaving for Syrian Golan Heights at Albert Park.

Ratu Epeli reminded the soldiers that they will be working in a volatile environment.

“The situation calls for dedication, teamwork and courage and the highest level of discipline both regimental and personal,” Ratu Epeli said.

He encouraged them to be professional in carrying out their duties.

“We have always risen to the occasion and earned the respect of those around us. I am confident that on this mission you will do the same,” Ratu Epeli added.

Ratu Epeli also commended relatives of the soldiers who braved the rain this morning to farewell their loved ones.

“Your strength in keeping the home base safe and secure will contribute in a big way to the success of our troops on deployment. It is heartening to see you turn out in numbers today. This is a reassuring sign of your support. The nation thanks you,” Ratu Epeli said.

Fiji Ex-servicemen Association vice president Mr Panapasa Vakacegu said the association wished the troops well for their deployment in Golan Heights.

“It was a wonderful site watching our brave soldiers marching during the parade this morning. On behalf of our association I am wishing them the best in trying to keep peace in the Syrian Golan Heights,”  Mr Vakacegu said.

The soldiers will depart Fiji on Wednesday June 26, 2013.