News Item

New Investment Law & Regulation set for Fiji

News 5 Mar 2018

The World Bank Group (WBG), International Finance Corporation (IFC) team is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism on a comprehensive review of the Investment Policy and Act.

Mr Koya opened the Stakeholder Workshop on the Draft Investment Act and Policy at the Holiday Inn, Suva, yesterday.

He said: “You might ask why the need for a review?

“The main objective of the review is to develop a new and modern investment law and regulation, which is able to adapt to the changing investment environment and provide a reform action plan – that includes an investment policy.

“We need an overarching policy that captures our development aspirations, as stated in the five-year and 20-year National Development Plan (NDP).

“The vision in the NDP is “Transforming Fiji” and the review of the investment policy and law is an impetus to achieve this.

“In addition, we also need to mindful that our Investment Policy and Framework are sustainable and protect our environment, in order to mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change to small island states. Investments and investors can assist the Government in achieving “Fiji’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” under the Paris Agreement.

“As you all know that the Fijian economy has been experiencing unprecedented levels of growth, which has never been achieved before.

“We have had eight consecutive years of positive growth.

“Over the past five years we have experienced an average growth of 4.5 per cent, with 5.6 per cent in 2014 being the highest recorded for decades.

“The investment figures have also been very positive, with over 25 per cent contribution to the GDP, and most importantly the private sector investments have contributed approximately 15 per cent.

RBF economic review

Furthermore, the Reserve Bank of Fiji economic review has stated that investment has remained upbeat in 2017.

“On average new lending by commercial banks for investments increased by an average of 23 per cent in 2017.

“The strong growth of investments has been made possible by the long term, forward thinking and pro-growth policies of the Fijian Government.

“In addition, the Government has continued to develop infrastructure that is vital for trade and investment.

“The 2017- 2018 National Budget continued the commitment of the Government in providing the enabling environment to investors and businesses.

“Whilst the Government continues to provide relevant infrastructure, it is equally important that the policy and regulatory framework are reviewed and revised to meet the market demands.”

Investment Reform Map

In this regard, the process has commenced with an Investment Reform Map (IRM).

“This highlights the areas of strength, gaps and weakness in the existing legal and policy framework for foreign investment, and identifies reform action plan.

“Furthermore, the IRM identifies that Fiji’s development vision entails the diversification towards knowledge-intensive sectors and activities.

“Hence, we need to ensure that resources are channeled towards attracting the right kind of investment and investors.

“Therefore, one key outcome of the reform map is having a comprehensive Investment Act that provides rights, protection and obligations to both domestic and foreign investors.

“The IRM also identifies the need to clearly define roles of the investment promotion agency and the regulatory agencies.

The role of Investment Fiji is that of an investment promotion agency.

They cannot continue on the current path, where they play the role of a facilitator, a regulator, a police and a border protector.

They need to focus on the core competency of attracting the right investments and investors that will enable diversification and achievement of our development goals.

Their resources need to be utilized in a manner that achieves the maximum benefits for the nation as a whole.

Essentially, like other successful Investment Promotion Agencies, like Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB), Investment Fiji needs to change its approach and instead of waiting for investments, Investment Fiji needs to proactively pursue desirable investors and multinationals that will bring countless benefits to Fiji.

This is just the first phase of consultation on the Investment Reform Map, the Policy Statement and the proposed Law.

Today, we wish to introduce you to these reform ideas.

We want you to be part of the reforms and take ownership of the changes that will be implemented.

This is not the only platform available for your feedback but will be followed by numerous other consultations, until we have a framework that best suits our vision and aspirations.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that as the presenters go through the IRM, the Policy Statement and the proposed Law today, you should think of the role you as an approval agency, a licensing agency or an investor play in the overall investment sphere.

How can you as a border agency or as business licensing agency or a business, ensure that investors and investments are doing what they are supposed to.

How can you complement the work of Investment Fiji?

How can you add to achieving the overall vision of the Fijian Government of “Transforming Fiji”?

Therefore, you are all called upon to provide constructive comments and suggestions to enable the Investment Reform Action Plan to be comprehensive and inclusive.

With these words, I wish you a productive and successful workshop.

Source: Fiji Sun