A-G Refutes Report On High Tariff
Radio NZ quotes New Zealand sales manager who claims high tariffs here as a cause
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.”
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.
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.