Parliament

Economic affairs committee hears submissions on sugar bills

The parliamentary standing committee on economic affairs today heard submissions from the Ministry of Sugar and Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources on the amendment of two bills which is expected to be tabled in the next parliament sitting. Submissions were heard on the Bill-No-19-Reform-of-Sugar-Cane-Industry and Bill-No-20-Sugar-Cane-Growers-Fund-(Amendment) The committee was chaired by the Assistant Minister, Local Government, Housing & Environment […]

Peni Shute

May 4, 2016 1:20 pm

The parliamentary standing committee on economic affairs today heard submissions from the Ministry of Sugar and Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources on the amendment of two bills which is expected to be tabled in the next parliament sitting.

Standing Committee on Economic Affairs Chairperson and the Assistant Minister, Local Government, Housing & Environment Hon. Lorna Dean.(Ashutosh Singh/Newswire)
Standing Committee on Economic Affairs Chairperson and the Assistant Minister, Local Government, Housing & Environment Hon. Lorna Eden. (Ashutosh Singh/Newswire)

Submissions were heard on the Bill-No-19-Reform-of-Sugar-Cane-Industry and Bill-No-20-Sugar-Cane-Growers-Fund-(Amendment)

The committee was chaired by the Assistant Minister, Local Government, Housing & Environment Hon. Lorna Eden.

EDEN: “Government in its last sitting gave us two bills to ammend, Bill No.19 and 20. We have been given 30 days for this process and for that looking at the fact that these bills are both of the sugar industry so we are simultanouesly having consultations on the new bill.”

“This bill will take into considerations everything, natural disasters will be one of the major ones, seeing that we had two big natural disasters that hit Fiji.”

The amendment of the two bills will be set to tackle such issues of loan, land leasing, and providing new ways to assist sugarcane farmers.

Committee members, NFP Leader Dr. Biman Prasad and Hon Viliame R Gavoka.(Ashutosh Singh/Newswire)
Committee members, NFP Leader Dr. Biman Prasad and Hon Viliame R Gavoka.(Ashutosh Singh/Newswire)

The leader of the National Federation Party and committee member Dr. Biman Prasad said the new bill will propose the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) to be a government entity and pointed out loans owed by the FSC.

Representing the Ministry of Sugar, the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and Sugar Jitendra Singh and the Director of Fiji Sugar Corporation Viliame Gucake.

Mr. Gucake said the FSC is in debt of over $200million in loans of which an estimated $173million is owed to the government. The other loans the FSC has taken are from international banks which the Fijian Government has guaranteed of about $120million.

standing-committee-sugar (4)
Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and Sugar Jitendra Prasad and the Director of Fiji Sugar Corporation Viliame Gucake. (Ashutosh Singh/Newswire)

The committee will visit major sugar stakeholders for public hearings next week.

The next Parliament sitting is on Monday, the 30th of May 2016.

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