Final payment issue

National Federation Party leader Dr Biman Prasad during a press conference. Picture: FT FILE/RAMA

THERE should be no deductions made from the final cane payment for the 2017 season, says National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad.

He said growers needed a decent final cane payment for the 2017 season to have meaningful Diwali celebrations.

Prof Prasad said the final payment due today should have been announced a week ago.

“It is a matter of grave concern that the payment hasn’t been announced by the Sugar Industry Tribunal with only a day before the payment is due as stipulated by the master award,” the NFP leader said.

“So far, $81.10 has been paid to growers and this includes a $6.30 top-up by Government in the 4th payment paid in May.

“Government says it will pay a minimum of $85 per tonne from next year.

“Why can’t Government top up this final wash-up payment to make it $85 per tonne? Why has the Sugar Industry Tribunal been silent so far?”

Tribunal industrial commissioner Timothy Brown said there was nothing in the Sugar Industry Master Award about the final cane payment being made before the end of October.

He said the payment was traditionally done before the end of October.

The Fiji Sugar Corporation said it would not respond to third-party comments, however, an announcement on the payment would be made later this week.

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