PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama reiterated his government's commitment to fostering business in the country but he warned against those seeking to get ahead by bending the rules.
"My government assists businesses because they provide people with jobs and sustainable livelihoods. Jobs and a sustainable livelihood lifts people out of poverty. But businesses also have a responsibility to play by the rules and ensure fairness for customers," he said, while speaking at the opening of a $3 million shopping complex at Carreras, Nadi.
Commodore Bainimarama said some business houses chose to impose unconscionable mark-ups in the prices of some goods and services.
"This practice becomes even more unconscionable when government has reduced or zero-rated duty to make goods more affordable for ordinary Fijians but certain business houses that import these goods do not reduce prices accordingly. They reap huge profits at the expense of government and the consumers."
He warned unscrupulous agents they were on the radar and action would be taken by the relevant authorities if the practice continued.
"They're on notice that we are watching them closely and we will take the necessary action to remedy this greed. We are building a Fiji to ensure that all Fijians benefit from our policies. We will not allow these policies to be thwarted by a few," he said.
The shopping complex is destined to revolutionise shopping at Carreras, housing U Save Supermarket, a seafood shop, a DVD movie outlet and vegetable markets. It is the first in a series of investments, said owner and managing director Bobby Khan.
"I would like to applaud the Bainimarama government for having the foresight to allow dual citizenship which has brought me back home after being away for 22 years. After the completion of this project, I will be looking at establishing a resort near Sonaisali and am also looking at the possibility of setting up a hospital as well," he said.
Commodore Bainimarama said entrepreneurs like Mr Khan were welcomed because of the positive impact on the local and national economies.
"The jobs being created here are jobs for ordinary people. People whose earnings filter back into their communities and strengthen the general economic base," he said.
He added that the development of the shopping centre was further proof that his government's multiple nationality policy was having a positive effect in encouraging investment by former Fiji residents.