Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Public Service, Peoples Charter for Change and Progress, Information, iTaukei Affairs, Provincial Development, Sugar Industry, and Lands and Mineral Resources

Votualevu, NADI

Thurs. 8th Nov., 2012

1200 Hours

Bobby and Azreena Khan;

Distinguished Guests;

My Fellow Fijians:

Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you.

It’s a special pleasure for me to be in Votualevu today to open this new shopping complex.

It’s special because this is a three million dollar investment in a heavily populated area where there is growing demand for goods and services.

And it’s even more special because the investment has come from a former Fijian who left the country in the wake of the 1987 coup and has returned under my Government’s multiple nationality policy.

22 years after he left, Bobby Khan and his wife Azreena, are among a growing number of Fijians who are coming home after establishing successful businesses abroad.

They’re putting their hard-earned cash back into their country of birth and helping ordinary Fijians in the process.

The jobs being created here are jobs for ordinary people. People whose earnings filter back into their communities and strengthen the general economic base.

Welcome back Bobby and Azreena. You are now home among your friends, family and fellow citizens once again. We pay tribute to your success in New Zealand. We thank you for bringing your skills and capital back home.

Your return to your motherland shows the success of my Government’s program to make multiple citizenship available to former citizens who previously had to renounce their Fijian birthright.

This complex comprises a U-Save Supermarket plus 12 shops and offices and a fresh produce and vegetable market for 14 market vendors. It’s an inclusive project for the entire community and a shinning example to other entrepreneurs.

My Government assists businesses because they provide people with jobs and sustainable livelihoods. Jobs and a sustainable livelihood lift people out of poverty.

But business also has a responsibility to play by the rules and ensure fairness for its consumers.

We are extremely concerned that some business houses in Fiji have chosen to impose unconscionable mark-ups in the price of some goods and services.

This practice becomes even more unconscionable when Government has reduced or zero-rated duty to make goods more affordable for ordinary Fijians, but certain business houses that import these goods do not reduce prices accordingly. They reap huge profits at the expense of Government and the consumers.

They’re on notice that we are watching them closely and we will take the necessary action to remedy this greed. We are building a new Fiji to ensure that all Fijians benefit from our policies. We will not allow these policies to be thwarted by a few.

We support the entrepreneurship of those who have the best interests of Fiji at heart.

Vinaka vakalevu Bobby and Azreena for your vote of confidence in us. We urge other former Fijians to return home to help further build our country.

And I now take great pleasure in declaring this Complex open.

Vinaka. Thank you.