A-G ex­plains first fee in­crease in 19 years

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - NEE­LAM PRASAD Edited by Epineri Vula Feed­back: nee­[email protected]­jisun.com.fj

Fi­jians are pay­ing a frac­tion of what fel­low Pa­cific is­landers have to foot to get of­fi­cial doc­u­ments such as birth, death and mar­riage cer­tifi­cates. And it has been 19 years since the fees for such doc­u­ments were in­creased. At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Jus­tice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

made the com­ment yes­ter­day as he clar­i­fied is­sues sur­round­ing the in­crease in fees for of­fi­cial doc­u­ments from the Births, Deaths and Mar­riages (BDM) Reg­istry.

Birth cer­tifi­cates ob­tained from Post Fiji out­lets will now cost $15 while in BDM of­fices it will be $10.

A death cer­tifi­cate will cost $15, a mar­riage cer­tifi­cate $25 and a dec­o­rated cer­tifi­cate of mar­riage would be $75.

He said fees were higher at Post Fiji be­cause the com­pany charged a fee and that ex­tra amount was for the ser­vice they pro­vided and for us­ing their own paper and ink.

“In Samoa, to get a cer­ti­fied copy of a birth cer­tifi­cate it will cost $59FJD, in Fiji it now only costs $10,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“In Van­u­atu, for a cer­ti­fied copy of birth cer­tifi­cate it’s about $28FJD.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said in April the dig­i­tal plat­form was launched where peo­ple could reg­is­ter their new­born ba­bies.

“That reg­is­tra­tion done through electronic means does not carry any fees what­so­ever. We have to en­cour­age more peo­ple to reg­is­ter elec­tron­i­cally.”

To get a copy of the birth cer­tifi­cate upon dig­i­tal reg­is­tra­tion, you don’t pay any fee for the first copy.

Man­u­ally, the reg­is­tra­tion it­self is zero dol­lars, but if peo­ple want to get a copy then that is $10. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum clar­i­fied the mis­in­for­ma­tion cir­cu­lat­ing in the pub­lic do­main that it would cost $3000 to get mar­ried.

He said the $3000 fee was for civil mar­riage cel­e­brants.

“A few years ago, we amended the law where we have cit­i­zens who can ap­ply per­son­ally in their own right to be­come a mar­riage cel­e­brant,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said. “These are the spe­cialised mar­riage cel­e­brants, but apart from that there are 1500 re­li­gious mar­riage of­fi­cers through­out Fiji, which in­cludes priests, pan­dits, ta­latala and maul­vis.”

He said these re­li­gious per­son­nel also ap­plied to be­come mar­riage of­fi­cers, for which they paid no ap­pli­ca­tion fees.

He said the Gov­ern­ment was mak­ing a lot of in­vest­ment in BDM, so that peo­ple could have proper iden­ti­ties.

‘So, what we are do­ing now is to have a Na­tional ID card sys­tem, which will be a se­cure means of en­sur­ing that we have proper iden­ti­fi­ca­tion,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

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