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Speaker disallows Opposition raising supplementary questions to Koroilavesau

Opposition MPs were not given the opportunity to raise supplementary questions to the Minister for Fisheries in Parliament yesterday. This followed a question raised by MP Parmod Chand, the withdrawal
08 Mar 2018 10:00
Speaker disallows Opposition raising  supplementary questions to Koroilavesau
Speaker of the House Dr Jiko Luveni

Opposition MPs were not given the opportunity to raise supplementary questions to the Minister for Fisheries in Parliament yesterday.

This followed a question raised by MP Parmod Chand, the withdrawal of which was called by the Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau.

Mr Chand had questioned why fishermen were paying access fees for qoliqoli fishing grounds?

Speaker of the House Dr Jiko Luveni did not allow any supplementary questions from:

  •  MP Niko Nawaikula, who said: “This question has gone through the business committee, and therefore under the Standing Orders it has to be asked and he has answered, we should have the opportunity to ask and I want to ask a question.”
  •  MP Aseri Radrodro, who said: “From the minister’s lengthy explanation we want to confirm as he stated that the whole exercise will be completed by March 2018, he missed the target date.”

She said Minister Koroilavesau gave reasons why the question must be withdrawn and therefore the question could be brought up in a later date.

“The question was asked and it was clarified and answered, it does not warrant further debate on the question,” the Speaker said.

Minister Koroilavesau, when responding to Mr Chand, said no fees were charged to fishermen currently applying for their fishing licences in customary fishing grounds as the consultation process was still on-going.

“The ministry is not asking, nor charging any fees to fishermen, to members of the public that are applying for licences in customary fishing areas,’’ the minister said.

“I reiterate that the current work done by the Ministry of Fisheries was only to review the current licence fees.

“The review of the coastal licence fees allows the ministry to legislate the fees that will directly go to the customary fishing right owners for the harvest of marine resources within the area of customary fishing rights.”

Minister Koroilavesau said the work was approved last year. It is currently in its consultative stages that involves officials conducting research on the profit margin for fisheries.

“This is in addition to other variables which include the different methods of fishing, scale of fishing and the fish species that are being targeted. This has allowed us to break the major indicators into different margins.”

He said the work has not been finalised and there were four different tiers of licences that the ministry was looking to finalise.

“Additionally while undertaking this work we are looking to review the validity of licence period to reflect a 36 months expiry period which will commence on the date in which the licence is issued,’’ the minister said.

“This will not only allow our fishers to continue to fish with valid licence come the festive season but will help them secure financial support from financial institutions.”

He added that all would be finalised once the current consultation process was concluded.

Point of Orders were raised by MP Mosese Bulitavu who tried to convince the Speaker to allow the minister to answer the question raised in regard to his statement.

National Federation Party MP Biman Prasad raised his Point of Order and tried to show some form of evidence such as a form and letter that fishermen had to sign.

However, the Speaker said Point of Orders were based on rules and procedures and not on the content of the minister’s statement.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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