Fiji’s Ministry of Industries and Trade permanent secretary Shaheen Ali has called for support towards small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as it comprises 10 per cent of the Fijian economy.
Ali made the comment during the handover of new licenses to 24 companies to register their products in the Fijian Made Buy Fijian initiative.
The newly licensed companies also displayed their 181 products during the handover held at the Suvavou House in Suva today.
SMEs such as FRIEND Fiji, Hanif Industries Limited, Yaqara Pastoral Company, Northern Eggs, and Bombay Sweets were present to receive their licenses.
The number of companies and products registered so far since the initiative was launched in December last year is 54 and 400 respectively.
“Large and renowned firms such as United Apparel, Pacific Batteries and Copra Millers will be joined together with 14 small and medium enterprises,” said Ali.
He said these SMEs will be able to enjoy the same benefits as bigger enterprises.
“The SMEs that have been licensed today produce different products ranging from virgin coconut oil to honey, artwork, garments, and also construction material.”
He said they are important in terms of employment and they are also resilient to external shocks given that they are less exposed to international financial market and the fact that they are flexible.
“It is encouraging to note that that interest has been generated from different businesses on a daily enquiring to register their product as Fijian made.”
Ali said the ministry is currently implementing a 3-year marketing plan aimed at long term sustainability and credibility of the Fiji made by Fijian brand.
He said they are also developing a criteria and audit process that will ensure that quality and the standard of the branded products are maintained.
The ministry is working with private sectors to display these products and also the government ministries for the procurement to ensure that the brand is successful in achieving the desired results.
Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister of Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum reaffirmed the government’s support in the initiative, saying the sector will also provide new growth in jobs.
By Ropate Valemei