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Speech by FDB CEO, DEVE TOGANIVALU opening of Taveuni branch, 18 May 2011
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25 May 2011

    

(Salutations)
A very warm welcome to you all on the occasion of the opening of the Bank’s branch here in Taveuni, bringing to 11, the total number of branches that the Fiji Development Bank has Fiji-wide.

As a development financial institution, our presence in the community, particularly in communities that are under-served and
have limited access to financial services, has always been a key consideration for us.

Last December, we officially commissioned our branch in Nabouwalu and I am pleased to say that our presence there has
spurred on development in the agriculture sector in particular, where we have assisted several such projects.

Prior to formally opening an office here on Taveuni, we actively provided one week a month agency service on the island through our Savusavu Branch since 1985. But before it was moved to Savusavu, this area was looked after by Suva Branch ever since the Bank was established in 1967.
Here on Taveuni, I am pleased to note that since opening doors for business in October, we have attended to a number of enquiries and disbursed a similar number of loans to individuals and businesses interested in starting or expanding their current business. The majority of lending on the island has been toward farm development costs such as land and farm vehicle purchase.
This is very closely followed by tourism, purchase of commercial property, sea and land transportation as well as wholesale/retail.
FDB has also done much by way of supporting the financing of sea and land transportation for people on the island. Two of the three ferry companies providing the service between Taveuni and Natuvu, I am pleased to say, was financed by FDB.

The Social Banking Facility offered by the Bank between March 2008 and December 2009 also saw a boom in agriculture
development on the island. The flow-on effect of this was improved business for the retail sector - shops that sold farming implements and agri-inputs. Supermarkets also saw thriving business because the good dalo prices meant more cash available for purchasing consumables.

The dip in dalo prices this past year has probably caused some concern for farmers, it has been so for the Bank as well - such is the nature of business in the agriculture sector. Ideally, diversified farms are the way to go, this way your risk is spread over a number of commodities and you reduce reliance on just one commodity for your livelihood.

I would urge all businesses, whether you are in agriculture, fisheries, tourism or wholesale/retail, to constantly review the
performance of your business against the general market conditions and think of innovative ways to grow your business. Consider the possibility of value-adding raw materials – but first make sure you identify the market first before taking on the additional challenge. Most businesses fail because they fail to properly identify or secure their market.

People usually give up when the market is depressed. If anything, a depressed market is an opportunity to explore alternative business prospects. Fiji needs a generation of entrepreneurs and risk takers to spur the economy.

Taveuni is known as the Garden Island of Fiji. The diversity of your flora and fauna means huge opportunities for developing other aspects of tourism apart from the traditional sea, sun and sand.

As a development financial institution, we have taken on projects on the island that were deemed very risky. So great was the risk that other financial institutions refused to consider financing them. But this is what development banking is – financing development, particularly rural development in the resource-based sectors for improved livelihoods at the community level. At the national level, this means increased production, greater self-sufficiency and reduced reliance on imports.
Any development financing committed to by the Bank is done after careful consideration to calculate and minimize risk to ensure that the project is successful.
Let me assure you, the Fiji Development Bank is here for the long term and let me assure you also, that we will do what we can to ensure that as many new and existing businesses are assisted to the furthest extent possible.

 

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