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HON. LAISENIA TUITUBOU
Minister for Youth and Sports
_______________________________________________________________________________
SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF THE NEW BLK BRANCH AT NAMAKA, NADI

Namaka Friday
Nadi 7 April 2017
___________________________________________________________________________________

Senior Executives of BLK International
Members of the Nadi and Lautoka business communities
Invited guests
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula vinaka, Namaste, and Good Morning to you all.

I must thank BLK and the organisers for the warm welcome this morning. It is particularly warm as I have just arrived from an official trip to Bangladesh!

Today we celebrate the opening of a new BLK Branch and outlet here in Nadi. This is the fourth adding to those in Suva, Nasinu and in Labasa.

I must thank BLK International for demonstrating its confidence in the Fijian economy by continuing to invest in the Fijian market. BLK has been a source of livelihood for 200 Fijians and I believe this new outlet means more opportunities for more Fijians. We welcome this as Government and, of course, I hope that you are employing many of our young people!

Ladies and Gentlemen, our recent Gold Medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics consolidated Fiji’s brand of sevens rugby in the international arena. Indeed, Fiji Rugby itself is a brand. And I am glad that BLK is associated with Fiji rugby and is a growing popular sports apparel company now for Fiji and other sevens rugby playing nations. I believe that the association of the two brands, BLK and Fiji rugby, will benefit the Fiji economy in the longer-term.

BLK supplies sports apparel across the globe and is gaining popularity for its unique design and quality. Fiji is proud to be associated with, and to be a country producing this unique brand. I believe that more partnerships like this can and will develop between BLK and more sporting organisations in Fiji. This will definitely be a win-win for BLK and sports in Fiji.

Excellent designs and careful selection of fabric for use in sports is very important as sport becomes more scientific. This contributes effectively to sports performance during physical activity and training. However, the right apparel, for both recreation and competition, is important as experts advise us to get into the right gear for our sport. I believe that with increase in the number of BLK outlets Fiji-wide, Fijians can choose a home-grown brand that is of high quality, appropriate for their chosen sport and affordable.

Government, led by the Ministries of Health and Youth and Sports, promotes Wellness and Physical Activity. This partnership helps fight the increasing number of Fijians affected by Non-Communicable Diseases. Many Fijians do not participate in any form of sporting or physical activity because of the lack of proper sports apparel that suit our Pacific build and indeed our diverse cultures. I hope that BLK will design and advertise new and even more affordable ranges of sports clothing to attract all Fijians to participate in their preferred form of physical activity.

Nadi is a tourist town and Government is investing in programs that promote Sports Tourism. I believe BLK will promote its brand as a Fiji-brand, together with our winning Fiji rugby brand, to benefit sport, tourism, Fiji and BLK. This outlet will undoubtedly boost business in Namaka.

I congratulate BLK for this venture and it is my great pleasure to open this new Namaka – BLK Shop.

Vinaka

--- ENDS ---

Ministerial Statement 2017

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