Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Co-operatives SMEs and Communications, Hon. Manoa Kamikamica has reaffirmed the Coalition government's unwavering commitment to supporting grassroots individuals and the burgeoning Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony of two outboard motors at Naboutini Village, Serua to Captain Sireli Verebasaga, a prominent figure in sport fishing, charter, and water sports, Hon Kamikamica highlighted the critical role these enterprises play in Fiji's economy.
Though inclement weather prevented a boat ride on this occasion, DPM Kamikamica expressed his eagerness to return for a charter trip in the Vatulele Passage, highlighting the significance of tourism as a major contributor to Fiji's GDP.
"Tourism is the largest contributor to our country's economic pie or GDP," noted the Deputy Prime Minister. "It makes sense that some of our funds are set aside for ventures like these."
Hon. Kamikamica reiterated the government's dedication to supporting the MSME sector, stating that small and medium-sized businesses make up around 18% of Fiji's GDP. He pointed out that in other nations, the figure ranges from 60% to 80%, indicating significant growth potential in Fiji.
The Deputy Prime Minister also highlighted the government's commitment to supporting MSMEs with a dedicated budget of around $80 million. He stressed the importance of identifying impactful projects that can make a difference in the lives of Fijians, as well as diversification of income sources among small businesses.
Captain Sireli's family exemplified such diversification, with Mrs. Verebasaga running a souvenir retail shop, and their daughter offering massages on Fiji's picturesque beaches. The Deputy Prime Minister commended this approach and expressed Government’s readiness to facilitate collaborations between small and large businesses to stimulate economic activity.
The outboard motors presented to Captain Sireli were the result of a joint effort between the Ministry under the Integrated Human Resources Program  (IHRDP)and the  Fiji Development Bank.
"This program eases the initial debt burden for businesses by having the government contribute two-thirds of the project amount, with the applicant contributing one-third," said Hon Kamikamica.
Hon. Kamikamica encouraged the Yavusa Burenitu community to explore the potential eligibility of their ventures for this program, believing that targeted initiatives could significantly address Fiji's economic challenges.
The Deputy Prime Minister further extended his best wishes to Captain Sireli and his family. He also thanked the Yavusa Burenitu for their warm welcome. He stressed Government's commitment to supporting local communities and small businesses (MSMEs) and wished success to Captain Sireli's business and the whole community.
"The delivery of the outboard motors today is a clear demonstration of the Government's dedication to aiding small businesses and driving economic growth, especially in the rural sector," stated the Deputy Prime Minister.