Valelevu i Nakaria, Vua na Gone Turaga na iTaukei kei Nakaria;
Honourable Ministers;
The President of Grace Road Group, Mr. Daniel Kim;
CEO of Mobil Oil Fiji, Mr. Adi Tamara;
Members and Staff of the Grace Road Group;
Management and Staff of Mobil Oil Fiji;
Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula Vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

I’m delighted to be with you today to celebrate a fantastic new development for Nadi: The Grace Field Service Station Complex.

There’s much to be said the sophistication of this beautifully integrated service complex. With a supermarket, petrol station, service station, and restaurant all rolled into one, this is the sort of modern, functional, and attractive space we love to see in Fiji. But especially so in the surrounding communities of our more urban areas, such as Nawaicoba, where we are steadily looking to land more development that makes these communities better, safer, and more fulfilling places to call home.

It used to be that every Fijian had to go into Nadi, Lautoka, or Suva to see a glimpse of modern life or get a taste of different cuisines.
But more and more, the conveniences of modernity are coming to places like Nawaicoba, where there is a Police Post and where other supermarkets, restaurants, and businesses are taking root. This community is becoming a place where Fijians can live well, eat well, shop, run their errands, and access services without having to make the drive into Nadi – and that is worth celebrating.

Frankly, we need many more companies and entrepreneurs to start seeking innovative ways to better serve their customers. Most restaurants, supermarkets, and service stations in Fiji are stand-alone operations. Most petrol stations, in particular, have been selling the same snacks and drinks for what feels like all of Fijian history, with little done to improve the customer experience.

There are few one-stop-shop developments like this one, a complex where Nawaicoba‘s residents can tick- off shopping, fill up their gas tank, service their car, and bring home a hot dinner. Not to mention travellers who now have a convenient stop-off the highway in this new complex centre. And whether they live in Nawaicoba or they are just passing through, I trust each and every one of your customers will be met with the smiles and high quality customer service Grace Road company staff are known for offering nationwide.

But innovation aside, it’s the timing of this ten-million-dollar investment that I’d like to especially acknowledge today. Of all the towns and cities in Fiji, nowhere do you feel the crunch of the COVID-19 pandemic like you do here in the West. Nadi, as we all know, serves as Fiji’s gateway to the world.
It is the home of our award-winning international airport, which I should mention has recently achieved COVID-Travel Safe accreditation from the Airports Council International. Nadi is also the hub of Fijian tourism, and it is thriving local economy that employs tens of thousands of Fijians, including in surrounding areas like Nawaicoba. However due to the travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, this great gateway is closed. So, we are especially proud to celebrate this new hub of local economic activity. The construction of this new complex supported 40 jobs in construction. With its doors opened, it is providing steady employment for the staff in these stores. But we know this complex is more than its physical structure, today it also stands as a mighty sign of confidence in this division’s future; confidence that this local economy will not only roar back to life, but comeback stronger than ever.

We look to our partners in the private sector to help us write that story of Fiji’s economic recovery. By taking opportunities for investments and development today, you position yourselves for success the day this pandemic eventually loses its strangle-hold on the world economy. But let me be clear: even an economic crisis like COVID is no excuse for complacency. We expect development in our country to always meet high standards. We expect our partners in the private sector to play by the rules, respect our laws, and act in good faith. When we do, together, we can do great things; we can build great things – even with our borders virtually closed, we can celebrate the great confidence we share in our future.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

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