SUNBIZ

Strengthening Pine Relation Lauded

Around 2000 landowners and workers of Fiji Pine Limited Group received a total of $360,000 of lease security bonus payment cheques from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. This was the second
09 Sep 2014 08:35
Strengthening Pine Relation Lauded
Shazran Abdul Lateef.

Around 2000 landowners and workers of Fiji Pine Limited Group received a total of $360,000 of lease security bonus payment cheques from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

This was the second payment of bonuses this year, the first in February for $320,000.

Mr Bainimarama lauded the strengthening of the relationship between Fiji Pine Limited and its landowners.

He said governments policies in reducing the TLTB poundage on ground rent from 25 per cent to 10 per cent meant more was going in the pockets of the landowners.

Furthermore, stumpage payments that are peculiar to Fiji Pine leases were in the past attracting 25 per cent TLTB poundage.

This now does not attract deductions made possible through the directive of the PM as the chairman of TLTB. This also means more money in the pocket of landowners.

Fiji Pine Limited Group executive chairman Faiz Khan said the key stakeholders in the pine industry were its landowners, its workers and the State being the Government.

“Due to restructure of its businesses revenue and cost structures, landowners were getting a far greater share of returns,” he said.

“The satisfaction of landowners manifested itself by the renewal of 18,200 hectares of expiring leases since 2012 through mutual consent of landowners.

“Landowners who were disgruntled with returns in the past refused to renew leases for over a decade between 2000 to 2011.”

Mr Khan said all the business improvement was made possible through the hard work of its workers who tirelessly worked under principles of cost efficiency and productivity.

“The working conditions of workers was continually being improved,” he said.

“This is with higher pay, better benefits, free meals, cashing of unused sick leave at time and half rates, up-skilling of unskilled workers, and this year they will receive $500 bonus before Christmas.

“They deserve every bit of it as in my opinion they are one of the best group of workers, if not the best.”

Unwanted elements

Mr Khan said they had to fight against certain unwanted elements such as certain unionists-turned-politicians lobbying to get Fiji Pine’s forest certification cancelled.

“The forest certification allows easier access of its wood chip into Japan,” Mr Khan said.

“If we lose our certification, our wood chip export will be reduced and consequently our workers and landowners will suffer.”

He said it was annoying to see people saying they are fighting for workers’ rights yet doing things that will affect these workers.

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 




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