Ministry Steps up Support for Maritime Zones


The well-being of ordinary Fijians has always been a key priority of the Fijian Government and as such, policies are targeted on equality beyond geographical boundaries for the benefit of all Fijians.

Speaking in Parliament recently, Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya highlighted that the Government policies are focused towards creating greater economic impact for the most vulnerable, irrespective of religion, gender and ethnicity.

“We have continued to work hard to create opportunities for all Fijians to support and supplement their income, be it in primary resource sectors such as agriculture and fisheries or secondary sectors such as manufacturing,” he said.

“The Fijian Government has also formed strategic partnerships with businesses such as Vodafone to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to graduate to the e-commerce platform which will increase the customer base from domestic to the larger global customers.”

“We pioneered the Blue Lanes initiative through the Fijian COVID Safe Economic Recovery Framework to allow a safe restart for Fiji’s growing blue tourism industry and for the year 2021, Fiji welcomed 133 yachts and approximately 600 (597) passengers and crew,” he highlighted.

Minister Koya said that while the initiative was for Port Denarau, it was extended to Savusavu to share the socio-economic benefits in the Northern Division and grant access to yacht owners to Savusavu and nearby islands like Taveuni.

“Our findings of the 2020 yacht survey showed that while these yachts spent money on fuel, marine dockage and other essential repairs, there is also income generated for local communities, through purchase of souvenirs, yacht provisioning services, supermarket shopping and recreational activities,” he said.

“Targeted income generating programmes, such as the Integrated Human Resources Development Programme (IHRDP) and MSME Concessional Loans, have offered much needed support to MSMEs to not only survive, but improve livelihoods.”

“In 2015, IHRDP assisted the women in Vanuabalavu with two separate projects - Daku District women’s project and the Tuvuca women’s project which has supported a total of 60 women with the establishment of a business center that functioned as a collection centre of handicrafts, training centre and manufacturing site for weaving,” he added.

The women of Tuvuca were also assisted with a fiberglass boat and an outboard engine, which allowed the women to diversify into the fishing sector with total assistance amounting to $76,065 and these women being able to generate income of approximately $500 per month.

Another community Income Generated Project (IGP) funding was provided in 2017 to Cicia Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) and Ginger Project with the project cost amounting to $69,666 – contributing towards the procurement of electronic scrapper, VCO filter, coconut press, generator, goat fence, seedlings and hardware materials. The project has indirectly assisted around 320 people and further direct assistance to 80 individuals.

“We will continue to capitalise on the incentives provided in the 2021-2022 national budget, whether its regulatory relief such as fishing licensing and investment subsidies, or income generation programmes -we will continue providing our full support,” Minister Koya said.