Posts tagged FSC

SPEECH : PRIME MINISTER VOREQE BAINIMARAMA AT THE FIJI SUGAR CORPORATION SPORTS DAY AT NATABUA HIGH SCHOOL IN LAUTOKA

Bula vinaka, everyone, and a very good morning to you all.

I’m delighted to be with you in Lautoka – the sugar city – for the Fiji Sugar Corporation Sports Day.

What a wonderful occasion and how great it is to see you all here – the men and women who are an integral part of this great industry and your families.

When I heard from your Executive Chair that this event was happening, I was determined to be here at Natabua High School to share in the excitement.

This is not the occasion for a long speech except to say that the whole country values the contribution each and every one of you is making to the prosperity of your fellow Fijians.

As you know, 200,000 people depend directly or indirectly on the sugar cane industry for a living. It is our country’s second largest income earner and the hard work you all do benefits every Fijian.

In fact, many people had written the industry off. Yet all along, my Government has been determined to keep it alive.

And so we made the reforms that were needed, the tough decisions required so that all of you can continue to have jobs in the industry and provide for your families.

The new crushing season starts in a couple of days and I ask you all to put your hearts and souls into making it a success. And in return for all your hard work, I’ve got an announcement to make today.

In your next pay packet, every worker for the FSC is going to get a pay rise of five per cent backdated to the first of January of this year.

I want to say that all of you thoroughly deserve it. It isn’t a hand out, You earned it. It’s an acknowledgement of the hard work you put in last season. So congratulations!

You are an example to all Fijians of what can be achieved when workers, management and Government join hands for the good of everyone. You helped us make the reforms that were needed to put sugar on a proper footing and now you are reaping the rewards.

There are more benefits to be reaped if we continue with this collaboration in which we focus on the long term goals and sustainability.

So ladies and gentlemen sugar cane has turned the corner, just as our nation has turned the corner. And both the industry and our country can look forward to a much brighter future so long as we keep working hard and stay unified and focused.

To all of you, the staff, the management and the board, thank you very much for a wonderful effort.

And it now gives me great pleasure to declare the Fiji Sugar Corporation sports day open.

Vinaka Vakalevu, Thank you.

SPEECH BY PM BAINIMARAMA AT FSC SPORTS AWARDS

Bula vinaka and a very good evening to you all.

It’s a great pleasure to be here tonight for the Fiji Sports Council’s annual Sports Awards.

I will keep my comments brief this evening, because like all of you, I’m eager to see who the winners will be.

To the nominees: we are here to pay tribute to your achievement, your dedication to long hours of training, your determination and your will to win: whether coach, administrator, player, team or support staff.

To those who might fall short of the winning post tonight, we also convey our congratulations. Because to make it here – to be among the best of the best – is an achievement in itself.

You all have shown discipline and commitment. Competing in a spirit of friendly competition, winning with humility, and losing with grace are all marks of a great athlete and sportsperson.

Tonight, we are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Pacific Games, which had their birth right here in Suva in 1963. We pay tribute to those who came before and thank them for the half-century of sporting memories they gave us.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are a nation that loves its sports. They have the ability to lift our national spirit: like when Iliesa Delana won Fiji’s first-ever Gold medal at the London Paralympics; when our women took the bowl in the rugby world cup; when our men’s Sevens won in Hong Kong; when Fiji took its fourth straight netball title; or when the Flying Fijians captured the Pacific Nations Cup.

When our team wins, our spirits soar. When our team loses, our hopes are dashed. We follow the fortunes of our favourite teams with eager anticipation and heightened nerves. We pledge them allegiance, relish in their victories, and stick with them even through the most bitter defeats.

Sports – at their various levels – give us a pride for ourselves, for our school, for our town or city, for our district, and for our nation.

And, of course, they are one of our favourite pastimes. Sport will be found in Fiji wherever there is a will and desire to compete: in parks, parking lots, school ovals and open fields.

But sports are not only important because we enjoy them, but because they encourage fitness, teach healthy competition and promote social cohesion.

That’s why my Government is increasing its investment and support in sport, especially among young people.

In Fiji, we share this commitment – to not only develop elite athletes that can compete on the world stage, but to set our children up for healthy, productive lives.

I’m happy to note that the new National Sports Commission – established by the 2013 Budget – is up and running, and has begun to oversee and coordinate sporting development throughout the country.

This year has also seen the opening of the ANZ Stadium. Never before have Fijians enjoyed such a magnificent venue as this. The new stadium offers our athletes and spectators a world-class facility.

It enhances Fiji’s ability to bid for and host regional and international sporting events, and opens up new opportunities for the development of our young athletes.

But we’re also determined to give those living in rural and maritime areas access to the same kind of amenities which have only been available in the past to those living in our towns and cities.

So we’re targeting to build three integrated sporting facilities at Vunidawa, Seaqaqa and Rakiraki, followed by three more on Gau, Kadavu and at Korovou in Tailevu.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, I would like to talk about the importance of unity, of us all working together to build our nation. Just as a sporting team can only win with teamwork, the same goes for our beloved Fiji.

This means no standing on the sidelines. It’s up to each of us to take a stake in Fiji’s future as we gear up for Fiji’s parliamentary elections next year, based on the idea of one person, one vote, one value.

I’d urge you all to think carefully about the kind of Fiji you want for yourselves and eventually your own children.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you all have an enjoyable evening, and congratulations once again to all the nominees.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Remarks on the New Trade Finance Facility for Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC)

My Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the sugar industry and sugar farmers by guaranteeing a Euro 40 million structured trade finance facility for the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC), provided by the ANZ bank.

The agreement between ANZ and the FSC came after a rigorous process of vetting potential finance providers, both on and offshore.

It is important that we cut through the technical-speak and financial language of this agreement. The purpose of this finance facility is to aid sugar farmers and the sugar industry by improving FSC’s cash flow and as a result enforcing financial discipline, and creating more confidence and stability within the industry.

After the establishment of the new finance facility, FSC will have financing on hand to carry out preventative maintenance at the crushing mills and also to put in place a system whereby famers can receive payment for their cane within two-weeks of delivery to the mills.

Because of significant cash flow problems FSC, over the years, has not been able to pay farmers on time – sometimes delays of up to 6 weeks are experienced. This will now become a thing of the past.

The implementation of this new payment system for farmers is a continuation of my Government’s strategy to encourage participation in the industry. The period of payment for cane cutters has already been reduced from 4 weeks to 2 weeks.

Another important aspect of this agreement is the enforcement of financial discipline. For many years, financial discipline was lacking at the FSC, due to a number of unscrupulous individuals, which led to the significant deterioration of the sugar infrastructure in Fiji, especially at the mills. ANZ will now have an input to ensure that proper due diligence is performed before funds are spent.

This agreement also demonstrates the confidence the private sector sees in Fiji’s sugar industry, and shows the potential for private sector involvement in the development and growth of agriculture with Fiji.

This agreement is the most recent facet of my Government’s commitment to effect real reform in the sugar industry, to provide tangible benefits for sugar farmers, and to overall create a modern, viable and sustainable industry. This is a reversal of the unfortunate trend that existed in Fiji where certain individuals and groups used the sugar industry as a means to further their own personal and/or political interests, without a true commitment to the farmers and the growth of the Fijian sugar industry.