The majority of the larger commercial and industrial organizations in Fiji are subsidiaries of Australia, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, other overseas companies. There is, however, a significant and increasing business sector made up of businesses owned by Fiji nationals. Joint ventures between Fiji nationals and foreign investors are being encouraged by the government and are gaining popularity.
Fiji has a labor force which is adaptable, disciplined, and English speaking and readily available. The total labor force in 1996 was estimated at 301,500.
However, when shortages in middle and top management personnel are experienced, expatriates with appropriate qualifications generally have no difficulty in obtaining work permits to fill these positions. It should be noted that the government requires all expatriates to obtain work permits for any employment in Fiji.
For investors and industrialists, Fiji is an attractive venue for investment as can be noted by a considerable increase in the number of new industries besides the expansion of existing ones. Products manufactured have been intended for both local consumption and export. These include aluminum products, agricultural equipment, boats, beverages, food, building materials, industrial furniture and hardware, cement, cigarettes, concrete products, footwear, handicraft, clothing, textiles, plastic, plywood, packaging materials, soap products, tea packaging, wood products and wrought iron products.
Fiji being a viable venue for investment can be largely accounted for by the unique blend of advantages the country offers to both local and foreign investors: favorable environmental, economic and social circumstances and the continuing application of the free enterprise philosophy; well developed economic infrastructure, good international air and sea links and telecommunications, and adaptable, efficient, English speaking workforce.
These advantages are reinforced by incentives, which include tax and import duty concessions, accelerated depreciation allowances, tax rebates on export profits and easy repatriation of profits and capital. To enhance and stimulate investment activities further, Government introduced the Tax Free Zone/Tax Free Factory (TFZ/TFF) scheme in 1988. The salient incentive of this concept is a 13-year tax holiday on corporate profits and no import duty on plant, machinery equipment and raw materials for 13 years. This scheme expires in December 2000. A new investment incentive package has been announced and is in place effective from the 1st January 2001.
The market access under preferential trade agreements to millions of affluent consumers, coupled with a multitude of advantages and incentives, clearly indicate that Fiji is a safe and profitable venue for industrialists contemplating expansion of their manufacturing and other activities beyond their shores. Fiji’s hundreds of sun-shocked islands, tropical climate, friendly people, and wide range of services, are draw cards for the growing development of the tourism, and the number of holiday and business visitors to the country.
In short, Fiji is definitely a pleasant place in which to live, work and do business.