Budget should target Fijian diaspora, says investment body CEO

Photo: Outsource Fiji

As Fiji launches a strategic initiative this week designed to showcase its outsourcing sector to potential investors offshore, the head of Fiji’s investment agency has called for the Fijian government to focus on capturing the investment potential in Fiji’s diaspora.

“We have a huge diaspora globally,” said Investment Fiji CEO, Kamal Chetty. “We’ve done a submission to the government to see if we can provide certain incentives to get them [back] to Fiji, providing an easier pathway.”

Chetty says there is huge potential for investment from overseas markets such as Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

“The [national] budget must focus on diaspora investment. And that’s what we’re doing now by going out and talking to them, saying, ‘Come back home and invest’. They’re very particular and interested in making investments,” he added.

Chetty was referring to meetings with members of the Fijian diaspora in North America and Canada during an Investment Fiji mission in May led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Manoa Kamikamica.

Chetty made the comments while discussing Exploring Outsourcing in Fiji (EXO Fiji), a comprehensive 4-day country familiarisation program which begins on Tuesday 18 June and concludes on Friday 21 June. Supported by the Fiji Government and key stakeholders such as Investment Fiji, the Market Development Facility, and Outsource Fiji, the initiative is set to introduce leading location consultants from around the globe to the advantages of Fiji as an outsourcing destination.

(L-R) Investment Fiji’s Kamal Chetty and Outsource Fiji’s Sagufta Janif

Sagufta Janif, Executive Director of Outsource Fiji, says the company has made several recommendations for the Fiji government to consider in the new financial year 2024-2025.

With Fiji’s outsourcing industry contributing about FJ$216 million (US$95.68 million) annually to the economy, Janif says apart from financial support, there is a need for policy-level support from the government.

“For us to be able to tap into new markets such as the US and the UK, we need a data protection law. That’s something that we’re strongly advocating for,” Janif told Islands Business at a press conference recently.

Other recommendations include economic access for persons with disabilities and the use of green technology.

“All of those things have sort of been embedded into our budget submission.”

Janif adds there has been a significant amount of government support to the outsourcing industry “through tax incentives, customs duty waivers for our operators. They realise that it’s an important sector.”

Janif said EXO Fiji is set to “significantly amplify our economic landscape by creating even more job opportunities in the sector”.

She said Fiji’s outsourcing industry currently employs around 8,000 individuals.

“The global market for outsourcing services was valued at US$620.381 billion in 2022. It will expand at a compounded annual growth rate of 5.54% during the forecast period. This will result in a total market size of US$904.948 billion by 2027 and if we tap into just 10% of this market, we are looking at creating at least 25,000 jobs in Fiji’s economy in the next 5-10 years.”