Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was in the Northern division over last week. In his speech at the at the disbursement of micro small business grants in Seaqaqa, the honourable Prime Minister encouraged recipients to view this grant as a hand up versus a hand out; a gentle nudge towards the growth of their business.

Speaking to the 245 successful grant recipients, the Prime Minister reassured the budding entrepreneurs that government’s assistance does not end with the grant. When they had reached the point in their business where it was time for expansion, recipients had the opportunity to involve the Fiji Development Bank.

“When you receive your grant, you also have the chance to become involved with FDB as my government has given you the tick of approval. When you want a loan to continue growing your enterprise, you can go to FDB and begin the process. So as you can see, the support doesn’t stop here. We’ll be with you every step of the way on your journey to even greater economic successes,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister recently toured the Northern Division to handout cheques to 725 grant recipients in Nabouwalu, Seaqaqa and Labasa. Government, in its 2015 Budget announcement, allocated $1million to assist micro, small and medium enterprises.

The grant covers all individuals who have a particular skill set, including but not limited to handicrafts, small-scale fruit and vegetable sellers, farmers, market vendors, crop sellers, tailors, shoe repairers and any other form of micro and small businesses.

“Including these grants provided today, the Fijian Government has invested a total of approximately $5 million towards 4,945 households who have been given the chance to improve their quality of life by jump starting their businesses.”

Meanwhile the Prime Minister commissioned various major infrastructure projects including;

  • $228MM tarsealed road from Nabouwalu to Dreketi that is 70km long;
  • handed out 72 approval notices for 99 year leases to those living in informal settlements on State Land;
  • opened 1st floor market extension for Labasa Market;
  • Rural electrification: Holy Cross grid and house wiring project;
  • Handed over boat and engine for the Naviavia Melanesian Community;
  • opened the new classroom block at Valebasoga Secondary School;
  • opened the new classroom block for Vunisalusalu Central School.

The Prime Minister also visited a major project in Savusavu on Nawi Island across the harbour from Savusavu Town. Operated by Nawi Island Ltd, the Nawi Island Resort and Marina project will be a multi-million international resort, marina and real estate.

Financed by the Fiji Development Bank, the first phase of the project will include the marina and dry docks, residential lot infrastructure, hotel site infrastructure and the model villas.

The marina will accommodate vessels that are 10m to 60m in length with power and water to all berths, fuelling facilities for diesel and petrol, fire service pedestals, waste water pump out, ferry/tax pontoon and a marina office.

In addition, the dry dock facility will cater for boat maintenance, repairs and safe harbouring. Likewise it will include the hard stand facility, long term dry storage and haul-out with a 75 tonne travel lift that will cater for up to 80% of visiting yachts and local craft including catamarans.

In the past three years, international yachts visitation to Fiji has contributed around $30MM to Fiji’s economy.

Nawi Island Limited managing director Michael Gann highlighted to the Prime Minister during his visit that Savusavu is the most popular destination with 77.6 per cent of visiting yachts.

Nawi Island Limited is one of the Fiji Development Bank’s largest projects to be financed in the northern division.