Taxi permit lottery: Drivers given liberty to do business

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum picks the first taxi permit winner in Lautoka last month. Picture: DEPTINFO

MORE than 2500 people gathered at the Lautoka Girmit Centre for the taxi permit lottery that was held yesterday.

And Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the initiative by Government would reduce corruption and open up economic opportunities for permit recipients.

“This is what we call sound economic thinking — we are giving you the liberty to do your business and we are giving you the liberty to earn a better living.

“The other thing is those of you who are getting taxi permits today (yesterday), you don’t have bases and you don’t need a base. “This is part of the deregulation and we will see eventually all the bases will become what we call ‘free bases’.

“This will make things easier for you and it is good for members of the public.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that legislation changes meant that permit holders were able to maximise the economic benefits of ownership.

“We changed the law in the previous budget, taxi permits are now given for 10 years ­—— before they were given for only three years.

“It is now a mortgage-able asset. The arrangement we have put in place with the Reserve Bank of Fiji if, for example, you go to the bank and this is your first taxi then you will get an interest rate that’s five per cent or less.

“The second thing we have done now is once you get a taxi permit, you have the ability to sell the taxi permit without having to ask LTA whether you want to sell it or not.”

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