This event has grown to be a highlight in the business calendar and has successfully marked its 20th year anniversary last Saturday at the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, Sigatoka. The event's theme: "Celebrating 20 years of Global Recognition" marks the significance and growth of this event over the years and exemplifies the globally recognised status Fiji has accomplished through the combined efforts of Government and our valued exporters.
I cannot stress enough the important role our exporters play in the growth of our small nation and I commend all our Fiji exporters—your perseverance and drive to succeed in Fiji's tough export arena is a testament of the commitment you have towards your nation. Many of our exporters look forward to the opportunity to prove themselves amongst the best in their various sectors of business and that is the reason why Government continually supports this annual awards event.
Congratulations to all our winners this year.
Your hard work and determination has paid off and the awards you have received are well-deserved. The challenge now is to maintain the high standards you have achieved and to further your export potential through innovation and continued adjustment to market forces.
I also join the executives of Investment Fiji and Government, in acknowledging the various private sector organisations that have once again come forward to support this event.
For the first time ever, the Prime Minister's Exporter of the Year Awards has had the backing of two prominent companies as major sponsors and the added assistance from category sponsors and media partners has catapulted this year's event to even greater heights.
Public—private partnership is an important element for boosting economic development and this is well illustrated in the partnerships forged for this event. To enforce a more prosperous and self-sustaining economy, such partnerships must be fostered with the private sector working hand-in-hand with Government towards achieving a better Fiji.
The event has ended on a high—note and we look forward to a more successful event in the coming year.