July 17, 2013

Positive signs

Geraldine Panapasa
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

THE Reserve Bank of Fiji has seen a boost in the level of confidence among local and foreign investors in the economy.

During the re-opening of the newly-refurbished Westpac Fiji MHCC Sales Centre on Monday, governor Barry Whiteside said the business community in general was optimistic about what was happening in the country so far.

"We've been going around Fiji with our economics team talking to businesses and individuals. We've noticed without exception that they're all very confident," he said.

"They are actually putting money down now and investing so this is something that we did not see in the first few years after 2007.

"Our numbers and indicators are definitely showing that consumption and investment activities are very strong."

He said this was the observation across the board, with foreign investors engaging in hotel development and refurbishment.

Mr Whiteside said locals were also taking an interest in the hotel business, manufacturing and garment sectors.

"It's all positive at the moment, and these are backed up by the figures we're seeing from bank lending, cement sales, building applications and building completion certificates." Meanwhile, Westpac Fiji head of retail banking Nirosh Weerasinghe said they were in the process of announcing another major project, which was "going to be one of the biggest investments" for the bank.

"Since I've been here, about seven months ago, we've employed 30 people. I'm quite fascinated with the number of graduates that don't have jobs in Fiji and one of the things I am passionate about is giving those people a chance to come and join us," he said.

Mr Weerasinghe said of the initial 18 people they hired in their February batch, 14 were tertiary graduates.

No comments: