Media Releases

Hon. PM Bainimarama’s Statement on COVID-19, Monday, 19 April 2021

Fiji Welcomes Largest-ever Private sector Investment from Japan

The Fijian Government has entered into an agreement under which a consortium, namely Sevens Pacific Pte Limited, owned by Chugoku Electric Power Company (“CEPCO”) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (“JBIC”) will acquire a 44% shareholding in Energy Fiji Limited (“EFL”).

The investment by CEPCO and JBIC is the culmination of an exhaustive process to identify a highly experienced and credentialed international utility to acquire a shareholding in EFL. It was a critical objective of any transaction that the investor not only offer a financial investment to Fiji, but contribute deep operational expertise and experience in electricity generation and networks.

CEPCO’s exceptional track record as an international, integrated electricity utility made them the ideal candidate for the divestment. With CEPCO and JBIC as strategic shareholders, EFL will have the ability to tap into world-leading operational expertise, project delivery experience, technology and financial capacity to support the company in meeting the growing electricity demands of the nation and its renewable energy targets, while also providing reliable, renewable and affordable electricity to all Fijians.

Fiji is wholly committed to an ambitious net-zero carbon emissions target and plans to transition away from fossil fuels and to utilise exclusively renewable energy sources by 2050. With over 50% of EFL’s electricity already generated by renewable sources of hydro, wind and biomass, Fiji is well placed to achieve its long-term targets. The combined expertise and capital of CEPCO and JBIC is expected to dramatically boost this transition.

Acting Minister for Economy, Mr. Faiyaz Koya also announced his full support for the transaction:

“Energy Fiji Limited has found a reputable partner for change in the Chugoku Electric Power Company as it prepares to spearhead Fiji’s transition to carbon neutrality by 2050. Despite the obvious challenges the COVID pandemic has posed for cross-border agreements, Fiji and Japan have capped 50 years of strong diplomatic ties with the single-largest investment ever made by a Japanese company in Fiji. With Chogoku’s operational capacity and expertise at its disposal, EFL can perform better for the Fijians who rely on their services today while transforming into the driving force behind Fiji’s renewable energy revolution.”

The consortium will acquire 44% of shares in EFL, acquiring 24% from Government and 20% from FNPF. As a result of the share purchase, FNPF will fully divest its shareholding in EFL to the consortium. FNPF’s Acting CEO, Viliame Vodonaivalu, who led the initial investment in EFL, expressed his strong support for the transaction and acknowledged the tireless efforts by all employees at EFL in building an outstanding company.

“The opportunity for FNPF to invest in EFL was unique in both the quality and scale of the business and supported our investment strategy to diversify into more growth assets. EFL is an exceptional operation and undoubtedly one of Fiji’s leading corporations, supported by the dedicated efforts of management and employees.

Today we are happy to announce to our members that the investment was a success, yielding excellent returns for them especially given the prevailing economic environment. This will further solidify our financial performance and return capital for reallocation to other investment opportunities.

Following the divestment, the Fijian Government will continue to remain the major shareholder in EFL, retaining a controlling interest of 51% of the shares in EFL while Fijian account holders with shares in EFL continue to hold 5%. Following the signing of the share sale agreement, a number of additional conditions are required to be met before the financial close.

The Government was advised by ANZ Corporate Advisory and Squire Patton Boggs.

(Source: The Fijian Government Website, 26 March 2021)

Fiji Football Association (FFA) Ready to Work with Japan Football Association (JFA)

Fiji Football Association has welcomed the decision of the Japan Football Association (JFA) to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and work along for progress in football.
President Rajesh Patel thanked the Ambassador of Fiji to Japan, His Excellency, Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga for a successful meeting with the JFA President Kohzo Tashima in Japan last week.
Patel and Tashima share a close relationship as they both are FIFA Council Members.
“Fiji FA is ready to work closely with the Japan Football Association in various ways such as sports exchange programs and I would like to thank our Fijian Ambassador to Japan for a successful meeting to create this partnership,” Patel said.
“I already had discussions with JFA President and after a successful meeting between JFA President and the Fijian Ambassador, now we need to work on drafting an MOU between JFA and FFA to set out clearly the areas of cooperation which would include sports team exchange, official’s development programs, Coaching Clinic, etc.
“We are ready to work hand in hand for the benefit of developing and progressing in football.”

Fiji Reaffirms Commitment to the Climate Action Momentum

The global efforts to cut emissions, prepare for disasters, and manage displaced people are all inter-connected; none can succeed without the others, that is why all of those issues sit at the heart of Fiji’s climate action agenda.

This message was conveyed today by the Fijian Prime Minister, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama while delivering a statement at the virtual forum on the 5th year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework and the Nansen initiative.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said the Paris Accords, the Nansen initiative and Sendai Framework together with the global commitments promise humanity a better future, and 5 years from their adoptions, it is crucial to collectively reflect on the progress and best way forward.

“And one country, company, and community at a time, humanity is taking steps to decarbonize and become more disaster-resilient. The USA is not only back in this campaign, they are moving aggressively to make climate action a core priority of the new Administration. More countries and companies are announcing actionable commitments to reach net-zero in a few decades – including France and the EU.

“Some of the more vulnerable communities are finding their own ways to adapt – some are relocating. Others are being defended by seawalls. And past tragedies are informing better disaster planning and motivating world leaders, business executives, and entire institutions to build back better after disasters strike,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

Reaffirming Fiji’s commitment to climate actions, Prime Minister Bainimarama said, “We pledge to achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050 – and that commitment will soon be legislated through a ground-breaking climate change Bill. Our National Adaptation Plan maps out a multi-billion-dollar effort to strengthen our climate resilience.

“Our commitment to plant 30 million trees and sustainably manage every square kilometre of our ocean by 2030 could very well mean Fiji becomes a carbon-negative society in the not-too-distant future. And our rapidly-strengthening disaster readiness has led Fiji to become the first nation to achieve Target E of the Sendai Framework.”

The Head of Fijian Government stated Fiji has also begun establishing its own transparent and inclusive processes for managing climate-induced relocation.

“We have identified at least 43 communities that need to be relocated to higher ground due to worsening climate impacts, with six moved already. We have developed and launched the Planned Relocation Guidelines to give affected communities a powerful voice in where, when, and how they are relocated, and ensure that they have clear-income generating opportunities available. And we have launched a Climate Relocation Trust Fund to put badly-needed resources behind that effort.” We’ve dealt with questions that only real experiences can expose, and that only bold and innovative action can solve.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said that working in solidarity to initiate innovative actions is crucial in maintaining the momentum to tackle the challenges posed by climate change.

“I’ve had the privilege of personally handing keys over to families to homes on higher ground after their old houses were lost to a rising Pacific. I know first-hand that, even in our warming world, strong commitments – backed by resources and hard work – can bring hope back into the lives of the most vulnerable of our citizens,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

(Source: The Fijian Government, 04 February 2021)

Yaqona, Dalo, Cassava, Goat, Sheep, Bees – Top Crop and Livestock Causalities of TC Yasa, Parliament Informed 3-Phase Response and Rehabilitation Plan Developed

Yaqona, dalo, cassava, watermelon and chillies were the top five crops affected following TC Yasa, was one of the findings in the Detailed Damage Assessment (DDA).

Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy told Parliament on Monday (8.2.21) the top five livestock that suffered the highest casualties and injuries were goat, sheep, bees, cattle and horses.

“Total damages to the agriculture sector recorded a value of more than $147m, out of which 94per cent were value of damages on crop, 5.4per cent on livestock and 0.6per cent on infrastructure,” he said.

He said on Zone 1, which was the most affected area according to the cyclone path, crop planting area damage recorded was more than 50per cent of total area and captured value of dead livestock at around $5.2m.

“These findings require a rapid response and a well-coordinated rehabilitation plan to ensure Fijians livelihoods are properly restored,” the Hon. Dr Reddy explained.

Therefore, he said, as lead agency for food security and livelihood cluster, the Ministry was tasked with designing a response and rehabilitation plan for the next six months post TC Yasa for crop, livestock, fisheries and forest sector.

He said a three-phase plan was then developed.

“Phase One was designed to cover the first six weeks after disaster, and included immediate food security plan that targeted over 23,000 households.
“This included some of the work carried out straight after TC Yasa such as distribution of seed packages, kumala and bele cuttings etc.”

Minister Reddy explained Phase 2 covered life-saving rehabilitation plan, sought the rapid recovery of Fiji’s rural productive sector by targeting almost 14,000 agriculture households and prioritized subsistence and semi-commercial farmers that had lost 75per cent or more of their stock.

“It consists of six components – provision of planting material and tools, land clearing and preparation, rehabilitation of infrastructure and repair to farm roads.

“The plan also highlight Fisheries and Forestry area of priorities.”

The Hon. Minister said the third phase of the response and resilience plan facilitated the transition to sustainable development that ensured Fiji was better prepared and resilient to the effects of future natural disasters and climate change.

(Source: The Fijian Government, 10 February 2021),-DALO,-CASSAVA,-GOAT,-SHEEP,-BEES-TOP-CROP

Over 23,000 Households Needed Immediate Assistance Following TC Yasa, Parliament Hears

Following TC Yasa, an estimated 23,725 households in Zones 1 and 2 were identified to have needed immediate assistance, revealed Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Dr Mahendra Reddy in his Ministerial Statement to Parliament on Monday (8.2.21).

The Minister provided an update to the House on the assistance provided by the Ministry of Agriculture following TC’s Yasa and Ana.

He revealed the immediate assistance rendered to affected households was made following the findings from the Initial Damage Assessment (IDA) where after 72 hours of TC Yasa, the Ministry recommended the provision of three months food ration to NDMO for households in Zone 1 and 2.

“In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture commenced the immediate food security response which included the distribution of vegetable seed packages for home gardening, root crop cuttings, and other planting materials targeting household in Zones 1 and 2, which is estimated to be 23,725 households,” he told the House.

Minister Reddy said over 19,000 affected households were provided home gardening seed packages, over 7,000 households received kumala and bele cuttings, and 2,000 households given cassava cuttings as part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s immediate response within six weeks post TC Yasa.

“In addition, the Ministry distributed live chicks, starter and growers to more than 1,000 poultry farmers and over three metric tonnes of sugar to 190 bee farmers to assist in the rehabilitation of their stock.

“Due to significant loss of livestock from TC Yasa, vets from our livestock division were deployed through mobile clinics to provide immediate free veterinary services to affected livestock farmers.

He said as part of the Ministry’s early intervention, this veterinary team provided free services to livestock farmers, including the provision of free veterinary medication, and helping with the rehabilitation of their livestock.

Minister Reddy revealed, it was the first time that the Ministry’s TC Yasa Detailed Damage Assessment (DDA) collected data via hand-held devices using the online Kobo Toolbox software application.

“This online system ensured the timely collation of DDA data at Headquarters during assessment period. The survey captured over 19,000 household interviews from affected farmers which comprehensively assessed the impact of TC Yasa,” the Hon. Dr Reddy explained.

(Source: The Fijian Government, 10 February 2021),000-HOUSEHOLDS-NEEDED-IMMEDIATE-ASSISTANCE

PS Karan Receives Farewell Courtesy Call from Ambassador Omura (Tuesday, 24 November 2020)

Prime Minister Bainimarama receives farewell courtesy call from Japanese Ambassador (Wednesday, 25 November 2020)

Fiji Day Message by His Excellency Ambassador Isikeli U. Mataitoga (The Japan News)