THE 45th Fiji Institute of Accountants (FIA) congress, an anticipated event in the local business calendar, gets underway today at the Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa in Sigatoka.
With the theme "Embracing Fundamentals for Success", the congress will feature prominent business people, including members of the accounting and banking fraternity along with representatives from Government.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who was the intended chief guest, will not be officiating at the event because of "some very urgent matters", FIA president Jerome Kado confirmed yesterday.
"While the prime minister's unavailability is regretted as he was invited specifically to deliver the keynote address to share his thoughts on the way forward for the country in view of the global challenges and Fiji adapting to the same," Mr Kado said.
"The high calibre of local and international speakers, panel discussions and debate will ensure a wider engagement with the delegates on key topics of national interest during the Congress coupled with key issues and outcomes, which can be included in the institute's submission on the National Budget for 2017/2018."
The rest of the program will, however, remain the same with the registration of the 450 expected delegates commencing around 7.30am.
Mr Kado will deliver his welcome address at around 9.55am marking the opening of the congress, which has been divided into three sessions.
The first session, which will look at Fiji in the International Business Arena, will feature speakers; Westpac International chief financial officer Rod Jackson and followed by group managing director FMF Group of Companies Ram Bajekal.
A panel discussion has also been scheduled after the first two speakers before the delegates break for lunch from 1pm to 2pm.
The second session will focus on Fundamentals for Business Success, which will feature international speaker Tracey Ryan, New Zealand leader, climate change and sustainability services, Ernst & Young Ltd followed by Holly King, who is a technology partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Another panel discussion will be conducted before the FIA annual general meeting takes places at around 6pm.
The second day (Saturday, April 22) will focus on Fiji's Economy and the 2017/2018 Budget featuring speakers such as Andrew May, a KPMG partner, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jone Usamate and Munro Leys partner Richard Naidu.
The program will conclude with a panel discussion and debate before the formalities end with a networking cocktail and gala dinner.
The congress is sponsored by Westpac and Vodafone Fiji supported by Sun Insurance, Carpenters Motors, Merchant Finance, BAT Fiji, Datec, Marsh, Shangri-la's Fijian Resort, Fiji Water, Coca-Cola and Pure Fiji.