Maharaj: Charges exceed State grant

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights chairman Alvick Maharaj during the public consultations on the Fiji Institute of Chartered Accountants Bill (Bill No. 35 of 2021) by the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights at the Nadi Town Council Hall. Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

Beneficiaries of Government’s $1000 micro, small and medium enterprises grant are unable to meet the fees levied by registered accountants while trying to establish their businesses.

This, according to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights chairman Alvick Maharaj.

He said this during consultations on the proposed Fiji Institute of Chartered Accountants Bill 2021 in Tavua recently.

“Most of us, we don’t have that particular knowledge of accounting to prepare our own cashflow and if we visit someone who is running an accounting firm, their cost or their fee is more than what the Government of the day is giving,” Mr Maharaj said.

“So, for that $1000 from Government for you to start something small like a canteen or small farm, you need an accountant to help you with your cashflow but they will charge you $1500.

“So why should we be paying an accountant $1500 when you are only receiving a grant of $1000?”

Mr Maharaj said the issue could be addressed by having more registered accountants to increase competition.

“Once we open this up, there will be a lot of limited public practices that will upgrade their firms and we will have more accredited accountants.

“This will then open up competition and, as a result, their fees will come down through competition.”

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