Letters To The Editor, 1st August, 2017

Importance of Letters to the Editor Herleen Emily, Nadi Letters to the editor often serve a different role in nation building. While some think it is a waste of time
01 Aug 2017 11:00
Letters To The Editor, 1st August, 2017

Importance of Letters to the Editor

Herleen Emily, Nadi

Letters to the editor often serve a different role in nation building. While some think it is a waste of time and newsprint, it does make an impact in the lives of people.

I firmly believe that letters to the editor help scrutinise areas of need in the country whether it has to do with the Government, the private sector, civil society, or other matters of public interest.

People who tend to rubbish the views of people do not understand the importance of allowing others to freely express their views.

Your letters page has empowered young writers like myself to explore the art of writing.

It has given us an opportunity to voice our opinions.

It would be better if people begin to respect every view and opinion. We live in a country where “freedom of speech” is practised. So, please do not go around rubbishing the views, opinions and writings of other people on social media or in the newspapers. Respect is what we are calling for today.


Tax compliance

Dewan Chand,  Suva

Reference is made to the 4 The Record television programme hosted by Stanley Simpson on Sunday, July 30, 2017 on the subject of tax compliance.

Three senior officers from the Fiji Revenue Customs Authority (FRCA) namely Narayan Sami Gounder, Fazrul Rahman and Muni Ratnam participated. I must commend the three officers for the manner in which they explained their side of the story. It was simple, transparent and the user friendly approach to educate the tax paying public. They also talked about the efficiency and the effectiveness in service delivery from the authority by opening other branches outside Suva to make things easier for tax payers.

It is a fact that tax avoidance by some individuals and companies does exist. If caught the penalties could be severe including jail terms.

The group talked on a number of related issues like real time sales figures from the supermarkets and the transport industry. This way the companies will be saved from the cheating employees and Government will receive a fair tax because of it.

They also talked about abuse in the value added tax (VAT) claim system and the amount of black money which was unaccounted for. Understatement of value at the customs was a perpetual problem and the authority had to grapple with it in fairness to other tax payers and Government. It is the tax dollars that provide services needed in education, health and infrastructure such as roads, airports, and sea ports.

Under the new leadership a whole new work ethic has developed at the customs office. It is no longer fear driven. It is a more business-like and friendly approach. Now, no one needs to fear going to the customs office. The officers are courteous, friendly and approachable. This is first-hand experience when I visited Muni Ratnam’s office where the staff were very friendly.

Someone would pop out of the door to ask if the people waiting were attended to. This speaks volumes about the work ethic there.

However, Fazrul Rahman’s explanation that the 10 cents levy on plastic bags was intended to change the shopping habits of the people is clearly untenable. It is my view that this argument is not sustainable.

It is the responsibility of the Government or businesses to provide alternative shopping bags, which are bio-degradable. Charging 10 cents is clearly intended to collect funds in the name of the environment.

I sincerely hope that this matter will be reviewed and shopping will once again become happy and carefree.


Vehicle lights

Manoah Kaleca, Nakasi

Can the Land Transport Authority and Police clamp down on the number of vehicles that have illegal lights installed on them?

Some of these vehicles look more like a ‘ferris wheel’ rather than a car. They are a danger to other vehicles because some of the lights are too bright or blinking and distracting to other drivers. This may and have been the cause of some accidents and if nothing is done about it, we can only brace ourselves for more road mayhem.


One-point difference

Floyd Robinson, Nasinu

Some say one point does not matter, but on the rugby paddock it does make a huge difference. For Suva rugby fans, a point more than Nadroga was what mattered as they successfully wrestled the HFC Bank Farebrother Trophy from Nadroga right before some of their die-hard fans. The final whistle brought much pain to the Nadroga fans but for Namosi fans it signals much hope and relief as they have every chance of defeating Suva this weekend.

Meanwhile, aside from provincial or district rugby one observed with much interest the excellent performances of Natabua High School and Cuvu College in the Deans rugby competition. What a week of rugby it will be this weekend. One can expect upsets, joy, pain and humility as the final whistle on the rugby paddock will mean so much. For some teams and their fans, a one-point difference may just be the outcome they are hoping for.

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