Business

Government should pay for Denarau bridge: Chamber

By JYOTI PRATIBHA Government should foot the bill of constructing the new Denarau bridge, says the Nadi Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Doctor Ram Raju said their members were against
11 Oct 2012 09:32

The current Denarau bridge in Nadi. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

By JYOTI PRATIBHA

Government should foot the bill of constructing the new Denarau bridge, says the Nadi Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber President Doctor Ram Raju said their members were against the idea of a toll being imposed on the bridge.
“My feeling is that the bridge should remain a state bridge and not private or semi-private,” Dr Raju said.
He said a proposal was circulated amongst Chamber members to take their view on the matter, which then be forwarded to the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
Prominent lawyer Adish Narayan also echoed similar sentiments that the idea of imposing toll on vehicles wanting to enter Denarau Island needed to be “stamped out now”.
Mr Narayan said there were several issues ignored by the Denarau Corporation Limited (DCL). Denarau Corporation plans the toll to pay for a proposed loan from the Government to build a new bridge.
“Tourists who visit Denarau do not necessarily stay at the hotels on the Island and locals also visit the hotels and facilities on Denarau. It was locals who visited and spent on Denarau when tourist arrivals were low after the events of 1987, 2000 and 2006,” Mr Narayan said.
He added that about 90 per cent of the stakeholders in the retail centre are locals.
“Not all businesses in the retail centre and the industrial centre are tourist related for example.
“My own practice as well as the accountants and the building contractors and numerous jobs have been created for locals on the island not only by the large hotel chains.”
Denarau Corporation board had taken a decision to lend around $8million from Government for construction of a new bridge as the old bridge would be unable to take the load of large vehicles crossing over.
The Board had also discussed paying the loan by imposing toll on vehicles entering Denarau Island. This decision to impose toll was widely criticised by various stakeholders at the stakeholders meeting last month.




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