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Suva sets pace

Geraldine Panapasa
Monday, February 11, 2013

NEW developments have certainly lifted the image of the Capital City with a lot of commercial and retail outlets being set up to boost economic growth.

Suva Retailers Association president Himmat Lodhia said they had noticed a few large apartment blocks and commercial developments taking place in Suva and around its peripherals.

"The demand for upmarket apartments is prevalent as the supply was stagnant for some time," he said.

"The demand for retail outlets has grown and it is difficult to get new additional retail space anywhere in the central business district.

"All developments of any kind, be it commercial retail space, office blocks or residential apartments are good for the development and growth of the economy.

"This simply means more work is generated and with employment growth, there is the moving dollar which helps in every other sector."

While local shipping agent, Pacific Agencies earlier indicated an estimated 56,000 tourists on cruise liners this year, Mr Lodhia said the roll-on effect on businesses in the Capital City was positive.

"Direct sales by visiting cruise liners are limited to large department stores and stores specialising in souvenirs and local artefacts," he said.

"The other industries which benefit are transport operators. There may be other service industries which benefit from visiting cruise liners.

"At the end of the day, whichever sector benefits would mean the country benefits by increasing revenue. The moving dollar once again benefits all the other sectors."

He said the association encouraged training for retailers in Suva in all aspects of the industry. This would include better understanding of the retail industry, better customer relations and facilities for consumers.

"We will have workshops and training throughout the year at zero cost to members," he said of future plans for the association.

"We are glad that competing banks have now reduced the bank interest rates. There is also an emerging trend to lower fees and charges.

"We believe the seemingly cartel factor with banks is breaking down the new players coming in.

"The main issues in trying to open up new businesses seem to be the harassment and the rigmarole of getting a business licence.

"Suddenly, there seems to be a lot of requirements and approvals needed prior to getting a business licence."

He said the Suva City Council was a key supporter of business development but were bound by other regulations while security continued to remain a concern for the association.

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