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Reduction of Duty Did Not Reach Consumers: Sayed-Khaiyum

Reduction of Duty Did Not Reach Consumers: Sayed-Khaiyum
Attorney General, Minister for Economy and Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum discusses the Budget with members of the Fiji Taxi Association at yesterday’s meeting. Photo: Charles Chambers
March 20
11:00 2017

The reduction of duty on many items, including food, was not filtered to consumers, said Attorney-General, Minister for Economy and Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“We wanted things to become cheaper for consumers, whether you are buying tyres or a tin of Salmon,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“But unfortunately, we find a lot of businesses in Fiji have a different approach to business.

“They want to make a kill on each sale.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was speaking yesterday to members of the Fiji Taxi Association during their annual general meeting in Nadi.

“Some of you taxi drivers are doing the same. You see a tourist you want to take advantage of them by way of fare,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he had recently overheard some American tourists talking at a Denarau Resort about how a taxi driver wanted to charge them $65 from there to the hot springs in Sabeto.

“This is what is happening in Fiji,” he said.

“If you use the meter and charge the right price, you see you will have a good name.”

At the same time, he appealed to all to move away from the antagonistic approach or “fight” when making submissions on the National Budget.

“Make some constructive criticisms,” he said.

Meanwhile Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said office bearers of organisations, including the Fiji Taxi Association should not mix their political affiliation with the work they were entrusted for.

He was referring to a comment made by FTA secretary Rishi Ram after which Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he hoped he (Mr Ram) was not wearing his National Federation Party shirt.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said infringement notices were clogging up courts around the country and this was being looked into along with payment of fines where one had to travel to pay the fine at whichever city or town you were booked in.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said signage on speed cameras installed at different locations around the country could be installed.

He said speed cameras were not installed only for the purpose of collection of money but mainly to reduce speeding and accidents.

“We need to ensure we drive safely,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said a review would be carried out regarding third party and the process for claims for damages or injuries are sped up.

  •  A request was made by a taxi owner for the reduced duty on new tyres be continued. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this reduction was not a “one off thing.” He said this had been a policy decision as the Government wanted all vehicle owners to buy new tyres.”This is something that is not going to be here for only one year.”
  •  A taxi proprietor suggested that private car owners presently operating illegally as taxis should be given permits to serve the public at certain times, like 8pm to 6am daily. The operator said this would reduce the problem of illegal taxi operators. He said opening bases too for pick-ups during peak or busy hours would assist the public.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika


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