Time to decide type of investments Fiji requires: Kumar

Minister for Industry and Trade, Tourism, Local Government , Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar during a break in the parliament sitting. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

MINISTER for Industry, Trade and Tourism Premila Kumar says that since Fiji is going through the second phase of sustained economic growth, it is time to decide the types of investment Fiji requires to enhance great potentials.

And in order to attract investment that will create new industries and boost exports, she said this was an opportune time for us to review the current investment landscape.

In this regard, she said the ministry and the World Bank in particular, International Finance Corporation (IFC), was now reviewing the legal framework and they were developing a comprehensive investment policy through an investment reform map.

Mrs Kumar said the revised legislation would be expanded to include both domestic and foreign investments as opposed to the current law that focused only on foreign investments.

She said the key features of the revised legislation would include investors’ rights and obligations, national treatment test, dispute settlement mechanism; and investment incentives.

“This will make the legislation more robust and responsive to the needs of investors, while ensuring that investors fulfil their obligation as per the laws of Fiji,” Mrs Kumar said while responding to a question posed in Parliament last week on what the ministry had done with regards to the 2016 Amended Investment Act and Policy.

She said the roles of all relevant investment-related agencies would be redefined and strengthened.

She added this was being undertaken by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism by using the digital platform for the building approval processes and other approval processes that were required for an investor to set up his or her business in the country.

“Investment Fiji will focus on promoting Fiji as an ideal investment destination, pursue desirable and high-value investment and attract more multinationals.

“Mr Speaker, Sir, the ministry with IFC has undertaken consultations with relevant stakeholders, such as key Government departments, industry organisations and civil society. They have come up with a draft legislation and an investment policy statement.”

Mrs Kumar said the consultations started in November 2017 and it was still under progress.

She said last month, a Cabinet paper was presented where they had formed a taskforce to monitor the progress of this reform.

“Now, as we work on the legal framework, we will also undertake the development of a comprehensive investment policy. Investment policy is very, very important because that will set the guideline as to how we should proceed in attracting high value export-oriented investment into the country.

“Mr Speaker, Sir, the review of the legal framework is expected to be completed and submitted to the Cabinet by this year and at the end of the process, we will have a simple, yet effective legal framework that provides protection for investors and outlines their obligation as an investor in Fiji.

“In simple terms, there is a need for Fiji to have a modern and comprehensive investment law so that we can attract quality domestic and foreign investments.”

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