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Speech by CEO at the Launch of the 2012 FDB Small Business Awards
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15 August 2012

Welcome & introduction by Mr. Deve Toganivalu Chief Executive Officer, Fiji Development Bank at the launch of the 2012 FDB Small Business Awards.

A very good morning and warm welcome to you all.

This year we mark the ninth year for the small business awards. In numerology, the number nine amongst other things - signifies accomplishment, perfection and finition. Let me say, we are far from finishing - we are only just beginning. A new cycle and phase of growth for the awards beckons in 2013.
 
It is my pleasure this morning to share with you that as of next year, the FDB Small Business Awards will incorporate three new categories. These categories will specifically encourage micro entrepreneurs as well as micro finance institutions that provide microfinance services.
 
The inclusion of the microfinance categories as part of the SBA follows a decision in July by the Microfinance Working Group (MWG) of the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce (NFIT) to an FDB proposal to have the following categories included in the 2013
 
FDB Small Business Awards:
 
1.      Best Micro Enterprise (Sole Trader/Individual)
 
2.    Best Micro Enterprise (Group/Cooperative/Partnership)
 
3.    Best Micro Finance Institution.
 
The entry criteria are being designed and these will be made known to all in due course.
 
Let me just say a big vinaka vakalevu to the Reserve Bank of Fiji for agreeing to sponsor these three new categories in 2013. Thank you RBF for always leading by example. You have always exemplified the meaning of financial inclusion.
 
When we first started this endeavour, we did so to acknowledge and show appreciation to small businesses that have made an outstanding contribution to Fiji’s business landscape and to the economy. Micro and small enterprises do form a huge part of that economic landscape.
 
With those few words, it is my pleasure this morning to introduce our chief guest, a man who needs very little introduction. Manasa Vaniqi, the Permanent Secretary for Sugar is also a director on the board of the Fiji Development Bank.
 
From his humble beginnings in Wailevu, Cakaudrove where he started his primary education, he moved to Nausori where he completed his secondary education and later completing his tertiary qualifications at the University of the South Pacific and in the United Kingdom.
 
A territorial force soldier with the RFMF since 1974, he has served as a peacekeeper in Lebanon and East Timor. In between his obligations as TF, he has spent close to 40 years in service to the public having held amongst other offices, the positions of District Officer Savusavu, Divisional Planning Officer Northern, Deputy Secretary Home Affairs and Immigration then later Permanent Secretary Provincial Development in 2007 until he was given his current appointment as the Permanent Secretary for Sugar based in Lautoka.
 
Apart from his illustrious service to the public sector, Mr. Vaniqi also served for nine years (1981 and 1990) with the then Economic Development Board, the precursor to the Fiji Trade and Invest Board (FTIB), later Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Board (FITIB) and more recently, Investment Fiji (IF). While at the EDB he served as the Executive/Technical Officer, then later as Accountant, Industrial and Promotions, Senior Trade & Marketing Officer, Acting Board Secretary and Senior Enterprises Development Officer before returning to the Fiji Public Service.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I invite Mr. Vaniqi to launch the 2012 FDB Small Business Awards.
 
Thank you.

 

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