Mr Daniel Kim, President of Grace Road Group;

The Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Hon. Faiyaz Koya;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula Vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

First let me say what a joy it is for me to be with people, to be out in the community. I have missed this, these last many months. Today, I can speak to you in person, the way human beings were meant to interact, and not through a computer or over the phone.

Although we are not fully out of the woods yet with COVID, we can see the clearing before us and feel the sun’s rays on our faces. Life is returning to normal, and we will regain the life we have known if we stay the course.

We have many people to thank for this, but it has been a truly national effort, one in which every fully vaccinated Fijian deserves credit for their sacrifice and their willingness to step forward and be protected.

So today, we are dedicating this wonderful new Truemart, a project that was executed while we were combatting the resurgence of the pandemic. Construction took eight months. You pressed on, showing hope and confidence, and the result is a facility that will benefit the people in this area and those travelling along the highway.

Now they have a well-stocked supermarket and a restaurant. They can get a variety of healthy and fresh vegetables, groceries, as well as household and personal products. These are gains you expect in an economy that is modernizing and progressing for the benefit of all people.

Such investments give our citizens a range of choices. This has been one of the key objectives of my Government – facilitating enterprise and competition and giving ordinary Fijian a wide range of choices in products and services.

Grace Road is enriching the community here, as it has done in so many parts of Fiji. You have found under-served communities and brought in retail establishments that give consumers real choice. The sorts of choices that once were limited to only the most densely populated areas of the country. And there is another benefit: Markets where people can shop reliably, relax for a while and see their neighbours become focal points for a community.

You have invested wisely and significantly in the enterprises you have built here in Fiji. It shows great faith in the Fijian economy and in the future of Fiji.

Your enterprises are of uniform high quality in appearance, operation and efficiency, and I believe you are raising the standard for local retail and restaurant establishments.

Most importantly, you are proving that a social commitment and a commercial enterprise can work hand in hand, that businesses can have a great social benefit when service to the community is at the heart of the enterprise.

Congratulations to GR Group. I understand you have several new projects in progress, new Grace Fields in Veisari and on the Denarau Bypass Road and a new Truemart in Wailoaloa.

All of which will improve the lives of people in the communities in which they are located because you are giving them choice and convenience.

Congratulations also to the people of Sabeto, who have a new development in their community where they can supply their homes, feed their families, enjoy a meal and socialize with their neighbours and friends.

Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.

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