The Honourable Attorney General;
Government Ministers and Permanent Secretaries;
The Board and Management of HFC Bank & Fiji Sports
Distinguished Guests; and
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and a very good evening to you all. It is my pleasure to officially welcome you to the iconic HFC Bank Stadium.
I congratulate HFC, Fiji’s very own bank, for acquiring the naming rights of this world class sporting facility. HFC Bank is proudly Fiji’s only 100% locally-owned Bank, meaning that all its profits are directly re-invested back into the Fijian economy.
From the very start, my Government had envisioned a strong, stable, sustainable Fijian bank that every Fijian could call their own. Eight (8) solid years of excellence later, I am proud to say: Mission accomplished.
For the financial year ending 30th June 2022, the HFC Bank has posted a Net Profit of over $30 Million Dollars. That is more than double its $15 Million profit the previous year, despite the challenges presented in a very tough COVID environment.
Last year, HFC paid out more than $12 Million Dollars in dividends to the Fijian people through its respective shareholders – FNPF and the Unit Trust of Fiji. That figure is likely to be even higher this year, meaning ordinary Fijians, mums and dads will reap the greatest benefits.

Ladies and Gentlemen, HFC Bank has grown into one of the most successful and most trusted financial providers in the country, not by accident – the mid-1990s collapse of the then Government-owned National Bank should be proof enough of that.
In stark contrast, it has been the diligent Governance, Risk and Compliance measures and an effective strategy focused on growing its corporate market share that has made HFC the bank of choice for Fijians from every stratum of society.
Large corporates, commercial businesses, Micro-Small and Medium enterprises, as well as everyday hardworking families, know they now have a bank that prioritizes their financial security above all else.
During the pandemic, the worst economic crisis to ever hit Fiji, HFC Bank worked in concert with Government to assist Fijians through loan repayment breaks and repayment holidays; it restructured loans, provided short term funding or top-up loans for business continuity and support; and enabled its customers to access Government and Reserve Bank of Fiji stimulus packages. This was a prudent and necessary complement to Government’s nationwide support through the pandemic –– including the half a billion dollars we paid out in unemployment benefits.
Thanks to our national vaccine campaign, effective public health measures and disciplined economic policies, Fiji is on track for double-digit growth of 12.4 percent this year. If realised, this would mark Fiji’s highest-ever economic growth on record. My friends, the global pandemic was the reason for these difficulties we faced, but we are the reason we are overcoming the crisis.
Like any good team, our willingness to work and sacrifice for each other, our fellow Fijians, is why we are succeeding. And I think we can all be proud of that.
In an added win for our people, I am proud to share that the 2022-2023 national budget was passed in Parliament yesterday. Compassionate, sensible and disciplined – it is the budget Fiji needs to sustain itself for years to come. Even many of our usual critics have commended its prudence and foresight.
Businesses are now seizing on our recovery, and we expect over One Billion Dollars in domestic private sector investments to commence in the coming months. As of June, our total visitor arrivals totalled 205,529, which is a thirty-six-fold increase relative to the same period last year, and about 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
When I hear these signs of progress, I hear better, higher-paying jobs for ordinary people. That, Ladies and Gentlemen, should give every Fijian a reason to smile.
Young people benefit the most from those opportunities, and as we gather here today in this impressive stadium, let us not forget that we are a young country. 70% of Fijians are under the age of 40. 65% of Fijians are under the age of 35. And it is our youth who are making Fiji a household name across the globe.
From our Olympic medallists – the Fiji Airways Fijian 7 and Fijiana 7s Team, to our Super W champs, the Fijiana Drua; and from our Fijian Kulas, to the Fiji Pearls national netball team, our swimmers, footballers, weightlifters, tennis players, cricketers and more – young Fijians are making their mark as some of the best athletes in the world.
Regional and international tournaments are a huge source of revenue for Fiji. Which is why we have allocated $2 Million Dollars in our newly passed budget, to support the Hosting of International Tournaments, including the Australian Football League Fiji, Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Football Association, Netball, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Squash, Tennis and Yachting. 
With these brief words, I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate the HFC Bank once again and I certainly look forward to seeing you all back here at the HFC Bank Stadium for many of the upcoming tournaments, cheering on both our athletes and our recovery.
Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.