2022 General Election: Vuidreketi want to be a voice for the less fortunate, disadvantaged

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2022 General Election: Vuidreketi want to be a voice for the less fortunate, disadvantaged

CHOOSING to enter the political arena is never an easy decision to make, and most do it selflessly in the hope of being part of a platform that will help address the challenges and issues faced by society today.

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) candidate Ilisoni Vuidreketi put his hand up for public office because he wanted to be a voice for the less fortunate and disadvantaged communities.

With more than 20 years of experience in private sector development at both national and regional levels and having been a member of a provincial council, and the Great Council of Chiefs, Mr Vuidreketi said he felt it was time he entered the political arena.

He said that was why he decided to contest the 2022 General Election under the SODELPA banner.

After completing secondary school education at Queen Victoria School (QVS) in Matavatucou, Tailevu, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and later the Ministry of Finance as a clerical officer before being enrolled into the University of the South Pacific (USP).

Mr Vuidreketi completed his Bachelor’s degree in business (International Marketing) in 1991 and his Masters of Business Administration five years later in 1996, making him one of the first 13 students from the region to do so.

His leadership experience began when he became the marketing manager for Tourism Fiji. He was later given the regional marketing director (United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia) role where he was responsible for developing Fiji’s marketing plans, strategies and budgets for long-haul tourism markets.

He joined the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) in 1997 as a commercial manager, responsible for business development. He was also assistant to the CEO at the time, providing support in organisational strategy, governance, human resources, finance and planning.

In 2002, he joined the newly-established National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprise Development (NCSMED) which was established under the Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) Development Act 2002.

NCSMED was established with the main focus of encouraging sustainable business growth, investment and meaningful employment and Mr Vuidreketi joined as the Business Development Specialist, providing advisory and technical support in business planning, finance and marketing to enhance growth in Fiji’s SMEs. In 2005 he was appointed Fiji’s trade commissioner to the United States of America and Canada based in Los Angeles, and was responsible for Fiji’s export trade, marketing and investment promotion in the two markets.

His responsibilities included the conduct of market research, analysis and marketing activities for Fiji’s emerging exporters and the provision of regular advisory support to Fiji producers on opportunities for exports.

Mr Vuidreketi returned to Fiji fours later and served as CEO of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) in 2010 where he headed sustainable tourism development and marketing programs for SPTO’s 17-member Pacific island countries.

He was also the project supervisor of the European Union’s $15 million Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Programme under the 10th European Development Fund financing (2012-2015).

Upon the completion of his CEO term at SPTO in 2016, Mr Vuidreketi was offered consultancy positions but opted to retire from the corporate world to run a private business in land sub-division development which he continues to today.

At community level, he was a former chairman and board member of the Rewa Provincial Holdings Company Ltd and the GCC.

He was also on the board of NGOs such as Viti Spinal Injury Association of Fiji and Lifeline Fiji. At present, he is a member of the Rewa Provincial Council, the chairman of the Burebasaga Tikina Council and he provides ad-hoc business and finance advisory services to rural women and youth groups, churches and school committees.

“I have been blessed and thank God Almighty for the professional training, knowledge and experience I have gained over the past 30 years,” Mr Vuidreleti said.

“I am motivated to contribute to the rebuilding of Fiji’s current socio-economic status, especially to stimulating growth resource-based industries and improving the livelihoods of the less fortunate and disadvantaged members of our multi-ethnic society. In this respect, joining politics offers an excellent step forward for me.”

Fiji will go into polls on Wednesday, December 14,2022.

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