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Stakeholders Need to Work Together to Ensure Safety For All, Advises Akbar

There were a lot of questions raised by members of the Fiji Bus Operators Association on the compulsory third party policy. They came during the association’s annual convention yesterday at
13 May 2018 10:10
Stakeholders Need to Work Together to Ensure Safety For All, Advises Akbar
Participants at the Fiji Bus Operations Annual Convention at the Novotel Hotel in Lami on May 12,2018.Photo:Simione Haravanua.

There were a lot of questions raised by members of the Fiji Bus Operators Association on the compulsory third party policy.

They came during the association’s annual convention yesterday at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay convention centre with more than 100 particpants.

The Acting Prime Minister, Attorney-Gen­eral, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, was the chief guest.

Association president Richard Lal said: “Compulsory third party policy – this was an issue that FBOA has been pursuing for a number of years.

“We thank Government in making this a reality in establishing the Accident Com­pensation Commission Fiji which is now in operation and has reduced the high risks of liability previously faced by the industry.”

Accident Compensation Commission Fiji chief executive officer Parvez Akbar an­swered queries from participants present at the meeting on the procedures and types of accidents covered under the Compulsory third party policy.

 

Mr Akbar said: “My first focus is road safety, bus owners and drivers needs to ensure they are updated and trained on road safety and keep the passengers in mind when operating.

“Drivers need to ensure they look after themselves as well, drivers fatigue is also an issue.

“Making sure they have a good night rest before do an early morning shift.

“The message is on basic education for road safety for bus drivers. Owners need to make sure that their buses are mechanically safe to be on the road.

“We also need to work together in ensuring that Fiji has safe roads.

“We at ACCF remain open on discussions and negotiation with bus operators in terms of creating awareness in terms of how we op­erate and compensate.

“It is good that they raised questions, we then get to hear and understand what are their concerns and if there is way we could provide more clarity and if there is way we could provide awareness around those issues we certainly do our best.

“All applications that have come through have been straight forward and there has been no need to draw distinction accidents and incidents.

“It is something that is needed to look into and all applications will be considered on a case by case.

“And there were alot of question and sce­narios they gave but we will look into the cir­cumstances of the incidents.

“In some circumstances, we will look into the Police report, this will tell us, what actu­ally happened.”

At the moment, he said the Commission has about 30 applications and it will take time for the applications to be processed.

“We have just made one pay out and then we will be ready to make another pay out and there are other applications that will be made on behalf of those people who have died, we are relooking into the applications before payments are made out.

“These cases happened between January 1 and now. We will only cover accidents only from January 1 this year.

“My advice is to always be safe on the road.”

About ACCF

The ACCF has been established as a body corporate under the Accident Compensation Act 2017 (‘Act’), to make provisions for com­pensation in respect of persons who suffer personal injury or death as a result of a mo­tor vehicle accident in Fiji.

The Act and the new ‘no faultcompensation’ scheme will apply to motor vehicle accidents in Fiji occurring on or after 1 January 2018.

The Accident Compensation Bill was dis­cussed in Parliament on 11 July 2017, as­sented by the President on 14 July, and was gazetted on 18 July 2017. All members of Par­liament supported the new legislation.

Shortage of bus drivers

There were also issues about drivers walk­ing off their jobs from a bus company to an­other without consulting their previous em­ployers which is costing the bus companies alot of money.

Association president Richard Lal said there is a shortage of drivers.

“I think you have heard about our people saying about not turning up for work, not respecting the employees and employers etc. “These are some of the issue whereby our members are actually increasing the wage payment to complement their wages now as before and we need to train more.

“We need to train more young people to get more bus drivers.

“Drivers moving from job to job: The as­sociation actually has a solution in place whereby operators are to report those driv­ers to our team at the Fiji Bus Operators As­sociation.”

He noted one of the resolutions they have put in place is a bus company needs to en­quire about drivers before hiring them.

“The system is not working and we need to look into the issue.

“This will be discussed by our executives during the Annual General Meeting.”

Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation industrial relation consultant Noel Tofinga in his presentation yesterday highlighted with the introduction of the e-transport sys­tem, “you all are aware of the positives and negatives from using the system and the challenges that continue to exist, due to cer­tain anomalies”.

“First, they need to manage their staff like they used to and the drivers need to work with them. The answers to all these problems are within themselves.”

Governor of Reserve Bank of Fiji Ariff Ali with Accident Compensation Commission Fiji chief executive officer Parvez Akbar addressing members of the Fiji Bus Operators Association during the association’s annual convention at Novotel Suva Lami Bay Convention Centre on May 12, 2018

Governor of Reserve Bank of Fiji Ariff Ali with Accident Compensation Commission Fiji chief executive officer Parvez Akbar addressing members of the Fiji Bus Operators Association during the association’s annual convention at Novotel Suva Lami Bay Convention Centre on May 12, 2018

Mr Lal said “Quality Maintenace Systems (QAMS), the LTA has circulated a revised requirements, FBOA will make a submission after consulting members.

“We are currently working closely with LTA to that PSV Road Route License (RRL) guide­lines are amended to protect operators and their investments.

“The LTA has circulated revised guidelines and FBOA has made a submission based on consultation with bus operators.”

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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