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Not so sweet Diwali — NFP

Kalesi Mele
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

THE National Federation Party claims more than 70 per cent of canegrowers and their families will have a bleak Diwali.

This after deductions by the Fiji Sugar Corporation for commodities and loans left some farmers with no income in the fourth and final cane payment for 2016.

Yesterday, The Fiji Times received several account statements from growers who received as little as 32 cents.

Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Yogesh Karan said farmers needed to raise their concerns with the FSC.

"The payment was announced by the Government and we issued a directive that only 50 per cent would be deducted for FSC debt and not more," Mr Karan said.

"Those with concerns should contact FSC directly and they can assist them in the matter."

FSC chief executive officer Graham Clark said growers with high debts at financial institutions were likely to receive lower income levels.

"Each grower debt scenario is unique to each grower," he said. Growers with low tonnage and high debts with financial institutions will receive low income levels.

"FSC has no control over grower debts. If the grower is currently with a significant debt, that will have a direct impact on their cash on hand. There are numerous other growers who have manageable debt levels and will enjoy good incomes this season."

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad claimed this showed that Government's top-up of $9.15 was a sham.

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