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Fiji Business Briefs: Fiji Kava, Thunderstruck, FijCare and more

Thunderstruck mining company is discussing a joint venture arrangement with a shortlist of companies for its Rama copper and gold prospect. A company statement also says significant work is underway to prepare for a maiden drill at the Liwa Gold prospect.

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Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya says the country’s investment reform map is based on three pillars:

  • Alignment of domestic laws and regulations with international best practice
  • Revised role of national IPA (a new Investment Promotion Agency) law that will modernise the role of Investment Fiji, allowing it to develop into a complete IPA, and
  • Ease of doing business: such as the digitalisation and streamlining of approval processes and speeding up administrative procedures and requirements.

He made the comments at a virtual event, the “First Session and High-level segment: The WTO negotiations of an Investment Facilitation Framework for Development: What is at stake for Asian and Pacific economies?” last week.

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Fijian cybersecurity professionals from private financial institutions, telecom companies, the Reserve Bank of Fiji, the Financial Intelligence Unit, and government ministries have attended a US-government facilitated workshop on the latest trends on North Korea’s offensive hacking techniques.  According to the US, North Korea repeatedly targets Fiji with cyber-attacks to gain access to currency and to launder money in violation of international sanctions.

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FijiCare Insurance made an after-tax profit of $1.6million last year, a decrease of $2.8million over the previous year. Executive Director Avi Raju said: “For FijiCare, the closure of international borders as well as the overall increase in local medical costs has resulted in an escalation of our medical claims. Therefore, we are enthusiastic about the opening of Nasese Private Hospital and potentially other private medical providers, which we expect will increase medical facility options for our policyholders. Additionally, it has been pleasing to note that international travel restrictions for medical treatments are being gradually eased. From November 2020, India has opened its borders for medical evacuations allowing FijiCare policy holders to access overseas medical treatments after seven months of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in 2020.”

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Kontiki Finance Ltd has appointed Chirk Yam as an Independent Director. Yam has 37 years in the Accounting profession, and retired as a Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers in December 2015.

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The closure of Fiji’s tourism industry and cessation of production for several weeks last year has seen Paradise Beverages post a $3.9millon loss for 2020. Volumes were also down 14.5% versus the previous year.

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Port Denaru Marina has also posted a net loss of $212, 622 for the six months to 31 January 2021, although it says this was better than budgeted. The marina says it welcomed more than 90 foreign flagged vessels under the Blue Lanes iniative last year, and is preparing to meet more this season.

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Toyota Tsusho (South Sea) Limited has appointed Hendra Joewono to its board, replacing Akio Ogawa. Joewono has held various senior executive positions in the various Toyota Tsusho Corporation group of companies.

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The Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF)  warns it will act against any employer who falsifies COVID-19 member withdrawals. Acting Chief Executive Officer, Viliame Vodonaivalu said the Fund noticed an increase in the number of Phase 3 applications for the reduced wage rate option that entitles a member to a lump sum payment of $550 or $1,100. “Employers are requested to be honest with the applications. Our verification processes includes checks on members’ contributions and we are able to see if the member’s salary has not changed. This is of great concern, especially if the member is accessing the full government top up subsidy.”  The next payment is scheduled for next week 13 April.

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Fiji Airways is preparing to fly its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft again, after getting the nod from the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF).

Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO said: “Everyone at Fiji Airways, including our pilots and technical crew have complete confidence in the safety of the MAX, given the intense scrutiny, thousands of test flights and necessary upgrades made to the aircraft over numerous months. Safety and care for our customers and staff remain our highest and unrelenting priority.”

Viljoen confirmed that the Full Flight Simulator at the Fiji Airways Aviation Academy was already being used to bring its pilots and technical crew up to speed with all the new and additional requirements following the re-certification of the MAX aircraft.

“We will continue to work with our regulators to bring the MAX aircraft into service, albeit for the limited number of freight and repatriation flights we currently operate,” he added.

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Fiji Kava stocks were up 26.9% at one stage yesterday (Wednesday 8) after announcing its noble kava products will soon available at Chemist Warehouse stores. Under this partnership, Fiji Kava’s capsules will be available across more than 300 stores across Australia and New Zealand from April and May.

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