Elders of Toge, Balevuto and Tabataba;
Members of the Community;
Parmesh and Renu Chand;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and good morning to you all. It is a pleasure to be here to break ground on a project that will make a big difference in the lives of the people of this area and tie Ba in more closely with Nadi and its growing tourist-based economy.
If Fiji is to continue to prosper, we need people who see a need, have a vision to meet that need, and then act on that vision. We all see things that need to be done.
We all have dreams. But without energy and action, and without people who are willing to take risks to do something really great, all those dreams mean very little. So I am especially proud to be here with Parmesh and Renu Chand, a husband-and-wife team of entrepreneurs who saw the need for this project, had a vision of what could be done, and then did it. The company behind this project is Nasura Investments PTE Limited, and Nasura Investments really is Parmesh and Renu Chand. So thank you, Parmesh and Renu—for your vision, energy and hard work.
Many people shared in this vision, and this project could not have been done without the forward-thinking landowners of Vunadoi subdivision, particularly Toge Town Land, and the TLTB, who worked to make this land available on a long-term lease basis.
Without certainty, we can’t have investments. And it is absolutely critical for landowners and entrepreneurs to work together to create that certainty so that everyone can prosper.
Today we will break ground on Stage 1 of three stages of this commercial complex. Stage 1 will house a modern supermarket, six smaller shops and space for banking ATM facilities.
Next year we will see the development of Stage 2, with a service station and all associated facilities—and eventually, the commercial space will grow with the development of Stage 3, including provisions to provide real reasons for tourists to come here and spend their time—and their money—with us.
I am pleased that Nasura Investments is working with tour operators and hoteliers in Nadi area to bring that about, because that is the way to get things done that are truly beneficial—by working together across sectors so that we understand our markets, understand our customers and understand what our partners and stakeholders need so that everyone can be successful.
I must say that I love the optimism that this project shows in the future of this area and in the future economic prosperity of Fiji. We are a can-do people, and we have enjoyed ten consecutive years of economic growth. That should give confidence to everyone who is thinking about investing their capital. There is no surer bet than the future of Fiji and the energy and ability of the Fijian people.
This project fits very nicely with my Government’s drive to create the infrastructure and the economic environment that will bring more opportunities to people in rural areas and to give people in rural communities access to facilities and services that are every bit as good as the facilities Fijians who live in cities enjoy.
Sometimes a simple change or improvement can make a huge difference, and let me tell you what I mean.
When we tar-sealed the Moto Road and built a brand new bridge to replace the old Moto Bridge, which would regularly get washed away in floods, and when we brought clean drinking water to residents of this area and to nearby Balevuto, Toge, Vatusui, Tabataba and Moto, which are nearby, we were letting people know that they counted. We were letting them know that they were not forgotten, and that their past did not have to define their future.
Suddenly, the people here knew that simply going from one place to another or finding safe water to drink would no longer be burdensome tasks. They had greater control over their lives and their environment. And that frees them to think about the future, to have the vision that I spoke of, and to see things that were once a dream as things that they can aspire to and achieve.
And I want to add that Government’s work is not done here. This area is growing, and Government is growing with it.
Fiji Roads Authority plans to provide street lighting, and we have broader plans to locate for more government services in the area to give the people who live here easier access. We have also upgraded the Nukuloa Technical College, which is now fully accredited and falls under the supervision and oversight of the Fiji National University. That means young people in the area will have access to training and education that will open new career paths, allowing them to participate in Fiji’s modernising economy and uplifting their communities in the process.
It is important to also recognize the role the landowners have played in providing the opportunity and environment for investment to be made in the project such as this. The subject land is part of Vunadoi subdivision Lot 1 and falls under the land owning unit “Toge Town Land”.
I therefore extend Government’s deep gratitude to the land owners and the TLTB for their foresight and approval in making such land available on long-term lease basis so that investments such as these can be made for much-needed economic development and job creation.
So congratulations to you, Parmesh and Renu, to the landowners who made this possible, and to Blue Oak Construction PTE Limited, which is located here in Ba and is doing the construction. This represents an investment of around one million dollars, and when it is completed next February, it will mean new jobs and new prosperity—and easier access for the people in this area to the things they need every day.
Vinaka vakalevu. And let’s break ground.