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Increased commercial fishing licence feared to affect businesses

Western Province Minister of Finance and Treasury Hon Lester Saomasi

WESTERN province’s increase of commercial fishing licence fee is predicted to affect businesses.

MPA for Ward 18 Hon George Solingi Lilo said even Soltuna Company is still struggling to meet quarters in terms of production on its canning process.

Recently at the Full Assembly meeting of the province, it was passed under the Western Province Business Licence Amendment Regulation for 2017-2018 that the fishing commercial licence fee has increased.

According to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Hon Lester Saomasi, fishing commercial fee has increased from another SBD$5,000 making it from $25,000 to SBD$30,000.

“What grounds do we have in assessing the economic activities of the investments to the province,” said Hon Lilo.

“We might only be putting up the license fee here and affecting businesses.

“For fishing commercial, I would just want to caution the house that fish price has been affected a bit so I am worried when the minister has added another SBD$5,000 on top of the licence fee,” added the MPA for Ward 18.

Hon Lilo then adds that he was only raising a caution but if there is justification then it should be okay.

The Minister of Finance and Treasury in response to the MPA’s concern clarified that as a member of Soltuna Company himself, he has a lot of information as to what is going on so this is why he is not hesitating to lift up the licence fee for commercial fishing.

“It is up to these fishing business companies to show that they are running down but I have not seen that from the physical side of how things are currently taking place there.

“It is true fish prices can fluctuate but at the same time fishing companies can have some claim as well from their associations, so moving the licence fee up to SBD$5,000 is no harm at all,” concluded the minister.

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