- Fiji News
- Fiji Sports
By RACHNA LAL and
Stakeholders have been assured that policymakers will take heed of their concerns and submissions on the operations and services of the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) raised during a public consultations yesterday.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who was present at the discussions said, there were a number of important points highlighted.
“From these important points, we will look at how to improve the operations of the BAF and how it positions itself vis-à-vis the 2013 budget,” he said.
Also present to receive the submissions were the Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali, BAF chairperson, Josephine Smith-Moffat and chief executive, Elvis Silvestrini.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said such consultations were necessary because BAF was there to facilitate economic growth and development.
“They also play an important role to give Fijians access to reasonably-priced goods and food supplies and help our exporters make their exports more attractive and facilitate Fiji further to being a hub,” he said.
Following the consultation, where a number of topical issues had been brought to the panel’s attention, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they planned to have further consultations with respective agencies.
“We are also looking at getting other relevant agencies like the Ministry of Health and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) in terms of dealing with a streamline approach,” he said.
“This will facilitate various processes that need to be put in place.
“For example, to import goods, you have a number of agencies like the Health Ministry and FRCA to deal with.
“So how do we streamline that and how do they all talk to each other.
“At end of the day, we have to ensure that the consumer and importer are able to access goods efficiently.”
One of the concerns raised was difficulty in the importation of seeds – something vital for our agriculture industry.
Sam Foy, chairman of the Fiji Agro Processors Association, said their biggest impediment was getting seeds from Australia and New Zealand for the agricultural sector.
“We need good seeds but quarantine requirements are too stringent,” he said.
BAF chairperson, Ms Smith-Moffat agreed to this and said they would be looked into.