A-G Re­futes Re­port On High Tar­iff

Ra­dio NZ quotes New Zealand sales man­ager who claims high tar­iffs here as a cause

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - CHARLES CHAM­BERS Edited by Maraia Vula charles.cham­bers@fi­jisun.com.fj

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Econ­omy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has re­futed a Ra­dio New Zealand (RNZ) re­port claim­ing that high tar­iffs here had de­layed ar­rival of tim­ber sup­plies.

“That is ab­so­lutely in­cor­rect,” Mr Sayed- Khaiyum said yes­ter­day. He was re­spond­ing to a claim by a sawmill’s sales man­ager in New Zealand on Ra­dio New Zealand that the de­lays were due to the de­mand in New Zealand and the high tar­iffs in Fiji. “There is no duty on im­ported tim­ber so if they are say­ing that in New Zealand then that is in­cor­rect,” he said. “We have zero rate duty on all im­ported tim­ber so there are no tar­iffs. “Ev­ery­body knows that in­clud­ing the hard­ware peo­ple here.”

The re­port

New Zealand tim­ber sup­pli­ers say de­lays in re­spond­ing to orders from Fiji are due to lo­cal de­mands as well as Fiji’s high tar­iffs. There has been a de­mand for tim­ber in Fiji for the re­con­struc­tion of homes and schools af­ter many were de­stroyed by Cy­clone Win­ston in Fe­bru­ary. The RNZ re­port said sup­pli­ers in New Zealand had said there was a squeeze on the in­dus­try, with the do­mes­tic con­struc­tion boom get­ting the lion’s share of the tim­ber. How­ever, ef­forts have been made to pri­ori­tise orders from Fiji. The Sales Man­ager of Max Birt Sawmills, Shan­non Birt, said con­tin­ued lower tar­iffs would help plan­ning. “Even our own log fore­cast­ing, it needs ex­ten­sive plan­ning, and we are op­er­at­ing three to four months in ad­vance of try­ing to pre­dict what the mar­ket needs,” he said. “It would help the for­ward plan­ning and it would help us look at longer term sup­ply op­tions.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there was no duty on tim­ber, steel or roof­ing iron, elec­tri­cal ca­bles and some other ma­te­ri­als and this would stay in place till De­cem­ber.

Photo: DEPTFO News (Re­ports in Busi­ness Pages)

From left: Re­serve Bank of Fiji deputy gov­er­nor Ariff Ali, At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Econ­omy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Min­is­ter for In­dus­try, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya, Min­is­ter for Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion Rosy Ak­bar and Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Ru­ral and Mar­itime De­vel­op­ment and Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Inia Seruiratu dur­ing the 2016 Al­liance for Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Global Pol­icy Fo­rum on De­na­rau Is­land yes­ter­day.

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