The Government’s 2014 Fiji Budget (Budget) was presented by the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama on 8 November 2013 with the theme “Building a Smarter Fiji”.
As a potential investor into Fiji (or an existing investor) here are just some of the exciting changes introduced in the Budget effective from 1 January 2014 that might be of interest to you.
The South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) has remained stagnant for a number of years, failing to attract listings from successful businesses around the region. With the aim of developing Fiji as a financial hub, the Budget has introduced some significant advantages to those who may be interested in listing on the SPSE and those who are already listed.
Corporate taxes for companies listed on the SPSE will be reduced from 18.5 % to 10%. This will be applicable to all companies across the board (we are still waiting on confirmation from FRCA on whether companies will need to satisfy the 40 % local shareholding requirement in order to obtain such attractive corporate taxes but initial inquiries suggest that the tax rate will apply across the board).
Any trading of shares on the SPSE will be exempt from any Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax which will also encourage active trading on the SPSE.
All consequential gains arising from any restructure, reorganisation or amalgamation of private companies for the purpose of listing on the SPSE will be exempt from any taxes.
Check out our previous article here on the draft Companies Decree 2013 which is expected to be implemented before February 2014 and here for a summary of the recent changes to the foreign investment legislation in Fiji which will also make doing business in Fiji even easier.
The corporate tax rate of 17 per cent for a company that moves its regional or global headquarters to Fiji will remain in effect next year. ANZ has already moved its Pacific headquarters to Suva and it is expected that more will follow.
In 2014, the Government proposes to make several major investments in the trade area that will reap big benefits for Fiji. Among these are initiatives to boost trade with Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Australia.
A Fijian Trade Commissioner in PNG will be appointed to take advantage of the opportunities between Fiji and PNG. The Government will also allocate further funding to boost trade with the Melanesian Spearhead Group generally, to take advantage of the increasing the scope of the MSG trade agreement, which will include services and the temporary movement of people.
The Government are also allocating funds for an MSG Investment Road Show and Trade Fair and for an MSG Trade Ministers and Officials meeting.