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Opinion, Opinion

EDITORIAL: Taxi Permit Change, A Dream Come True For Drivers

EDITORIAL: Taxi Permit Change, A Dream Come True For Drivers
July 10
10:33 2017

Taxi drivers around the country are hailing Government for the 2017-2018 Budget especially, those who applied for permits but had not received them during the freeze period.

However, the Fiji Taxi Association is claiming that this could actually cause chaos within the taxi industry.

Labasa Taxi Association says this will cause over-crowding in a small town and encourage taxi drivers not to respect their bases.

This is a flimsy argument that has no credible basis. More taxis will raise the level of competition. That will be good for the travelling public because it will raise the standard of service.

Secondly, it offers drivers the chance to own their taxis. That will have a positive impact on the economy.

The Attorney- General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced that in January 2018 the freeze on taxi permits would be lifted.

The permits can be used as a collateral for security to obtain a loan with a five per-cent interest rate.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has already refuted claims by the Fiji Taxi Association that this will adversely affect the industry.

He says the first priority will be given to those who applied for permits during the freeze period.

In addition the Government will also decrease tax burdens on taxi operators.

Fiscal import duty on second hand hybrid cars for taxi businesses will be reduced to half for the next two years and this will only apply to taxi operators who have only one taxi.

Permits which are valid for three years will be extended to 10 years. They can also be transferred and sold.

The permits can also be used as collateral for bank loans.

Walk around the towns and talk to taxi drivers, and you will see their joy and hear them say they are looking forward to a better future as business entrepreneurs.

Drivers who have been driving for operators for more than 20 years can now picture themselves sitting behind the wheels of their own taxis. They can become their own boss.

They can see their financial burden getting lighter, their living standard improving and their families enjoying life better.

The 10-year permit is an added bonus.

They will no longer have to go through the process of applying for renewal every three years.

These new Government initiatives are a dream come true for them. Once there was a permit freeze that was not popular. Now it will not only be lifted but the conditions have been improved to make the lives of permit holders much easier.



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