The Government of India, this morning handed over $FJ2 million dollars to further assist the micro and small businesses in the country.
High Commissioner of India to Fiji, Her Excellency Padmaja, says the grant serves as an initiative that enables Fijians to access funds when starting-up or growing their business.
Bainimarama, while reflecting on the handover ceremony held at his office in Suva this morning, says the government, in its bid to further improve the livelihoods of every Fijian, vows to continue its assistance towards micro and small business entrepreneurs.
He adds that during the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State visit to Fiji in November 2014, he pledged to assist Fiji in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector with $US5 million.
“The Indian Government has, to date, provided a total of FJ$8.4 million to the Fijian Government, assisting about 8,600 micro and small businesses. The donation has undoubtedly boosted their income-capacity. Today’s additional donation will mean improving the lives of another 2,000 plus micro and small businesses,” Bainimarama says.
“Fiji’s National Development Plan is clear in its support of growing micro and small businesses. The Fijian Government will continue to grow more MSME businesses and commercial ventures especially, those closer to the grassroots people.
“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which the Fijian Government is proud to be associated with, specifically calls for better financial services for small enterprises under Goal 9 and the Government is doing its part by supporting commercial banks to reach out to grassroots level through the rural banking initiatives.”
Bainimarama added the assistance from the Indian Government has helped entrepreneurs in the area of farming such as poultry, livestock, goat, piggery, and bee farming, canteen, baking, sewing, printing, handicraft, catering and floriculture to name a few.
“On behalf of the Fijian people, I would like to thank you very much for the kind gesture and I want to assure you that this donation, through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, will be put to good use and utilized for the right purpose,” he says.
“We look forward to continue working in partnership with the Indian Government and in particular, the High Commission of India to Fiji on important initiatives and programmes of the Fijian Government.”
Meanwhile, the Fijian Government has spent about FJ$38.7 million towards the MSME sector, $8.4 million of which are donations from the Indian Government.