Letters To The Editor, 8th August 2017.

Nadera community Ravneel Sharma, Suva The quick action taken by the FijiFirst Government in overcoming the fear of voting for a Nadera community was relieving. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and
08 Aug 2017 11:30
Letters To The Editor, 8th August 2017.
Letters To The Editor

Nadera community

Ravneel Sharma, Suva

The quick action taken by the FijiFirst Government in overcoming the fear of voting for a Nadera community was relieving.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum assured the people that the votes given by the people will be kept confidential and no one will know who voted for which candidate. I believe the impromptu visit by the leaders of Fiji to its grassroots people has really uplifted the morale of the people that the Government of the day is indeed caring for its people.

For many anti-FijiFirst supporters it may be another vote buying election techniques.


The 10 cents plastic charge

Jitendra Kumar, Lautoka

Don’t get me wrong. I fully support the initiative on minimising the use of plastic bags.

However, the air and information on who and which traders can charge the levy of 10 cents per plastic bag needs to be cleared some more.

Some shopkeepers and small traders who simply use cash registers which are not online and who do not even give receipts unless the customer demands for one are charging the levy of 10 cents on plastic bags indiscriminately whether it is a small or large plastic bag. Even some market vendors are now collecting or charging extra 10 cents for a plastic bag.

While this does discourage the customers from asking for plastic bags and thereby reducing use of plastic bags, the shopkeepers end up profiteering from this as the extra money collected on the plastic bag is not remitted to the Government.

During planned shopping excursions one is likely to carry their own reusable bags for carrying home the shopping and market produce. But there will be instances when one needs to buy something urgently on the way back home from work and may not have a plastic bag on them. In such situations being charged 10 cents by the corner shop makes one infuriated and more so when one knows through the news media that they are not allowed to charge the levy as theirs is not a point of sale online register, but simply a cash register.

There can be and will be a reduction of plastic bags used because of the levy that can be charged by certain businesses but a complete cessation of the use of plastic bags is impossible.

Plastic bags are water proof and the high density polyethylene bags used as supermarket bags are quite strong. The same cannot be guaranteed of bags if brought from home by the people for their shopping. Cartons are only provided by supermarket for large volumes of shopping and are difficult to carry as one needs both hands to carry a carton while a number of plastic bags filled with shopping can be carried easily in one hand.

With the introduction of the levy, people who are paying for the plastic bags pack their groceries are opting for less plastic bags. This is good. But imagine the cashier packing insecticide and a bag of flour together or imagine a cashier packing a packet of self raising flour and cold juice and frozen mixed vegetables together.

These are a bad combination of materials in the same plastic bag but this is happening.

Also it must be noted that the majority of the supermarket checkout bags are degradable being made of a combination of corn starch and plastic. They breakdown in a few months. So why the levy on them?

The ordinary Fijian shopper ends up paying extra because of the levy and some traders and shopkeepers are profiteering from this especially when they are not supposed to collect the levy.

I am not against the levy of 10 cents on genuine plastic bags as the money collected will be used to help in the battle against climate change. I am against unscrupulous traders and shopkeepers profiteering from this. I am also concerned about the packaging of incompatible items in one bag.

By now l would think that sufficient revenue would have been collected for the authorities to advertise and print in the daily newspapers the names of all the businesses and registered shops that can collect the levy on behalf of the Government. This will allow the ordinary shopper to decide where to shop and know which shops should not be charging for the plastic bags, and if they are charged by an unscrupulous shopkeeper, they can report that shopkeeper immediately without being in doubt about their status to collect the levy on behalf of the Government or not.

I hope the points mentioned are taken into consideration by the authorities.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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