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AFL gauges airport sites

Luke Rawalai
Saturday, May 20, 2017

AIRPORTS Fiji Limited is still assessing possible sites for a new international airport in Vanua Levu, says Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Speaking during the Labasa private sector National Budget consultations on Thursday evening, Mr Khaiyum said they were looking at a suitable site to accommodate extension within the next 50 years.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the new site may not necessarily be in Seaqaqa, even though AFL was assessing a site in Seaqaqa.

Labasa Chamber of Commerce chairman Satish Kumar requested the refurbishment of Labasa Airport to allow night operations, however, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the airport had no room for extension and refurbishment.

He said Labasa Airport sat on a river bend without much room for extension and this reflected the lack of vision on the part of those who constructed the airport.

"We have to think 50 years down the track when we would want to extend the airport," he said.

"AFL is currently assessing a site in Seaqaqa, but we are looking at alternative sites and it may not necessarily be in Seaqaqa."

Mr Kumar asked Mr Sayed-Khaiyum for the reduction of tariffs on readymade garments from 32 per cent to 15 per cent because most people in Fiji brought these garments.

Responding to this submission, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Government reduced tariffs on certain readymade garments like undergarments.

"Unfortunately we find that a lot of those duty reductions are not passed on to the consumers, while a lot of retailers' importers of these items take advantage of the reductions," he said.

"The whole idea for the reduction is not for the retailer or importer of these items to benefit. For a lot of items in the past that we reduced duty on, we do not see a commensurate reduction in the price of the good and we are very concerned about that."

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum assured Mr Kumar they would look into his submissions.

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