Gavoka concerned at lack of report

Opposition MPs Viliame Gavoka (left)and Mere Samisoni at Parliament yesterday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Opposition MPs Viliame Gavoka (left)and Mere Samisoni at Parliament March 19. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

WITH the recent massive payout of lease monies to pine landowners in the Northern and Western Divisions; and noted drops in hectares of land under Fiji Pine Ltd, Opposition MP Viliame Gavoka says he is concerned that they had yet to see an annual report from FPL to be tabled for scrutiny in Parliament.

Mr Gavoka said this was important so they could know whether the pine industry was indeed healthy and whether they could know that this kind of level of payout could be expected down the years.

“So, can we be given that financial report for Parliament to look into it because it is not one payout? What we want to see is payout down the line, down the years that is consistent and sustainable, one that Fiji Pine can sustain,” Mr Gavoka said in Parliament.

“I think more needs to be known, madam Speaker, I would like to see an annual report.”

In his usual tone of response, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said he had mentioned already that he would be issuing a ministerial statement on that.

“…But just to enlighten the honourable member, I think he is getting influenced by the honourable member that is sitting next to him who was not here in the morning,” the A-G said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said had the member actually made the effort and checked with the Ministry of Forests, the 2017 report had already been filed with the ministry.

“Every year, they have been doing it on time and those reports, madam Speaker, are not tabled in Parliament,” he said, adding the reason was because of the share structure.

He said Fiji Pine Limited was set up by the Ratu Mara-led Government as a $60million or 99.8 per cent redeemable, non-dividend holding preference to the shareholders.

“Government, while they hold 99.8 per cent asset by the Ratu Mara Government, Government owns 99.8 percent but they are non-dividend holding preference shareholders. In other words, the Government does not get any dividends paid out, should there be any dividends paid out,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum told Parliament last week.

“Fiji Pine Trust has 0.2 per cent shareholder but they get the right of dividends and because, therefore, that 100 per cent of the dividend rights go to Fiji Pine Trust, annual reports do not get tabled in Parliament as a result of that, Madam Speaker. That is why, but those reports are readily available; go to Fiji Pine Trust, go to Ministry of Forestry and you will find it there. There are many things you can find, please look for it.”


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