Fiji Business Briefs: Energy price hike rejected, SPX results, BSP Life payout

Outsorce Fiji at trade show

FCCC rejects energy price hike

The Fijian Competition & Consumer Commission (FCCC) has rejected Energy Fiji Limited’s (EFL) bid to increase electricity prices.

EFL wanted the adoption of both fixed and variable charges, instead of the current practice which relies solely on energy and demand charges. However FCCC says after extensive stakeholder consultations, verification of the Capital Expenditure plan and the 10-year Power Development Plan, and a desktop tariff analysis, it had several concerns over the proposal.

These include concern over EFL’s ability to meet its renewable energy targets. FCCC also notes “EFL’s current funding model prioritises debt repayment over capital investment, resulting in lower-than-necessary spending on crucial projects.” projects. The FCCC was also concerned about the EFL’s high borrowing levels and financial sustainability and its dependence on private (external) investment.

The FCCC has encouraged the EFL to submit a revised proposal.

BSP Life payout

Life and health insurer BSP Life paid out $94million in customer benefits in 2023, the highest amount in its 147-year history. It included the maturity payouts for life insurance policies, death and disability payouts, and payments for overseas medical evacuations. “Last year we recorded a 13% increase over 2022, with 100,000 benefit applications processed, averaging 1900 a week,” said BSP Life managing director Michael Nacola.

Film Fiji appoints Robertson

Film Fiji has appointed Jone Robertson as its new CEO. Robertson has been with the film commission since 2018, after a short stint working on overseas film productions in Fiji. Robertson said he was excited and honoured to take up the role. “Together, we will continue to harness the beauty of our cultural heritage and landscapes to attract filmmakers from around the world,” he said.

Jone Robertson

Sole partners with Unit Trust 

Sole Fintech is partnering with Fijian Holding Unit Trust (FHUT) to enable Sole customers to invest in FHUT via the Sole App. The FHUT says it believes “in order to find success in investment, investors need to first find success in savings. Sole Fintech App provides a space where investors can participate in both activities on one platform.” FHUT is the first investment offered in Sole’s Bill Pay Feature and Sole customers can top up their investment with as little as $5. A minimum investment of 50 units is needed to open a new FHUT Investment Account. 

Sole Fintech CEO Mereia Volavola commented: “The percentage of savings and investments held in Sole surpasses 20% of total E-money held in Sole. This is unprecedented in Fiji’s financial system and shows that Fijians can save but needed the right financial tool to do this.”

Fighting cultural piracy 

“From unscrupulous fashion houses to opportunistic artists, designers and entrepreneurs, the exploitation of Pacific cultural expressions has become all too common, depriving indigenous communities of their rightful ownership and economic benefits,” writes Glynis Miller, Trade Commissioner, PTI New Zealand. 

She continues: “With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), this trend has accelerated, posing unprecedented challenges to cultural preservation efforts. Priceless heritage is under siege again, this time facing the insidious threat of tech-driven cultural piracy.”

Read more on collective action Pacific creatives could take to meet this challenge: Opinion Piece: Combating Cultural Piracy in the Blue Pacific | Pacific Trade Invest

Outsource Fiji at Contact Centre Week Australia and New Zealand Summit

Outsource Fiji has represented the industry at the Contact Centre Week Australia and New Zealand (CCW ANZ) summit, showcasing the potential of Fiji’s outsourcing industry. Fiji’s Trade Commissioner for Australia and New Zealand, Daniel Stow noted: “Fiji is now top of mind for many Aussie and Kiwi companies looking to outsource.” With Fiji planning its own summit, Investment Fiji CEO Kamal Chetty added: “We will use this platform to engage with potential investors, understand their requirements, and meaningful connections that can translate into fruitful business relationships in the outsourcing sector.” 

BSP Financial Group director retires

BSP Financial Group Limited (BSP) has announced the retirement of Director  Arthur Sam, effective 21st February 2024. 

RB Patel Group declares interim dividend

RB Patel Group Limited has declared an interim dividend of 2 cents per share, amounting to $3 million, to be disbursed on March 26, 2024. Outgoing board chairman, Yogesh Karan, praised the company’s robust performance with a 7% increase in turnover to $90million, and an operating profit of $7.6million for the first six months of the fiscal year. The company acquired property and undertook upgrades in the reporting period. Karan has been replaced by Kamal Haer as Chairperson.

Kamal Haer

Nama Fiji trademarks

Skincare group Essence Group Fiji has successfully trademarked Nama Fiji, laying the foundation for its expansion into the Asia market.

Pacific Trade Invest China recently supported Essence Group Fiji to register the trademark in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Debra Sadranu, Managing Director of Essence Group Fiji, says the registration will also pave the way for their plans to breakthrough in the mainland China market.

PTI China: Pacific Beauty Breakthrough: Nama Fiji’s Trademark Victory | Pa

Nama Fiji