Government to look into freight costs issue

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Government to look into monitoring freight costs in the rural and outer islands. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Government will look into monitoring freight costs in the rural and outer islands. This, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad in Parliament last week while responding to a question posed by Opposition leader Inia Seruiratu on the freight costs and the effectiveness of monitoring in the maritime islands.

“I think that is a very important and critical question,” Prof Prasad said.

“As you know and pointed out quite correctly, in Vanua Levu and some of the maritime islands, it has always been an issue.

“When we were discussing the budget in Vanua Levu, there were calls about certain amount of rebates on goods that are shipped from Viti Levu to Vanua Levu.

“There are also, on the other side, a lot of the producers from Vanua Levu who were complaining about the fact that the freight cost is so high when sending products to Viti Levu, to Suva and to the Western Division where they can fetch better prices.

“But freight costs sometimes can be quite prohibitive in terms of what they could do.” Prof Prasad said Government would consider the issue of freight costs in the next budget.

“So, I think as part of the next budget, honourable Leader of the Opposition, we can look at some of the areas or the flashpoints that we can deal with.

“If there is a requirement for certain policy intervention, then we would be looking at that as well.

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