Look into renewable, alternative energy: A-G

Written By : JESSAN DOTON . The Attorney-General and Minister for Trade and Industry Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum spoke at the Annual General Meeting of the Fiji Fuel Retailers Association, and apart
27 May 2011 12:00

image Written By : JESSAN DOTON . The Attorney-General and Minister for Trade and Industry Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum spoke at the Annual General Meeting of the Fiji Fuel Retailers Association, and apart from encouraging them to make submissions for changes to laws pertaining to their industry, he also admonished them to be more conscious of the many factors that affect their business and the way their industry impacts the greater society and nation.
The highlight was focusing on sending out the message of alternative energy and the great lengths at which the government was trying to set off changes for this initiative.
“As you know the Government is very much focused on finding alternative forms of energy; renewable forms of energy,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“We spend close to a billion dollars in terms of importation of fuel generally for energy purposes, for fuel for vehicles and for running our generators at Fiji Electricity Authority.
“That is why we have brought about various projects; Nadarivatu will be coming on stream by the end of the year I understand, we have got various other smaller projects that will be coming on stream or being commissioned in Vanua Levu in the next 18 months or so,” said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.
He also highlighted the many reforms and incentives put in place to make the public more involved in this paradigm shift; a shift which has already been set in motion in many countries abroad.
Some of these incentives, as emphasised by the Minister were the removal of duty from energy saver lightbulbs, increased duty on non-energy saving bulbs.
“This was done in order to bring about a culture of being aware of the need to conserve energy, in particular not to use energy that is provided by fossil fuel,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“We have also at the same time as you know, provided incentive for people to participate in renewable energy projects.”
There were also encouragements for business people wanting to diversify.
“If you set up a company with a minimum investment of $250,000 and invest in a renewable energy company, you get a seven-year corporate tax break,” the Attorney-General said.
“These are the sorts of tax incentives that are put in place. If you for example, import solar panels and various equipments relating to renewable energy, there is minimum duty.
“So I think we also need to also put that into perspective.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the involvement of many international oil companies with global television channels about fuel efficiency was a projection of their companies getting in line with the modern mind frame of environmental consciousness.
“They are also projecting an image of themselves as companies that are conscious of the environment, that are conscious about the future and that they are investing in those sorts of projects,” he said.
“We also have hybrid motor vehicles. There is also duty concession on LPG vehicles.
“The reason why I highlighted this is because I think sometimes in Fiji, through various business organisation or associations, there seems to be a lack of connectivity between all the different determinants in our economy, that we are in fact all linked; we do not operate independently of each other and that is one thing that perhaps you can highlight in your meeting.
“It’s not just a question of being more corporately responsible, but it’s also being aware of what affects your business,” he said.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum urged FFRA members to be aware of such incentives and global movements for the future prospects of their industry.
The Minister said these were some areas that could be looked at for diversification and new business ventures.
He said the whole point of the entire exercise was to maintain Fiji’s pristine environment and to stop it from further degradation.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that Fiji’s image impacted several industries and its maintenance or lack thereof would have multiplier effects on the rest of the country and its citizens.
“I think you can also play a role being the fact that you are providing energy, being the fact we all need to be conscious of the environment, because if we do not do that, we can lose a particular market and losing that market means less revenue dollars for us, less revenue dollars for us means that you will have less tourists coming to your service stations,” he said.

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