SPARE PARTS INDUSTRY ISSUES BROUGHT TO LIGHT

CAPTION:?Managing Director for Dai-ichi Auto House, Mr Mansoor Khan with Attorney-General Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Plans are underway to form an association for spare parts dealers.

This is ?to make it easier for them to get feedback from their customers and also to provide assistance to the dealers.

Speaking at Dai-ichi Auto House in Raiwaqa today, the Attorney-General and the Minister for Industry and Trade Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said aftermarket parts industry played an important role in the motor industry in Fiji.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said apart from being a source of employment, the industry also allowed vehicle ownership for ordinary Fijians by making quality parts and consumables affordable to everyday motorists.

?Spare parts industry is quite large. They don?t have an association of their own. It would make it quite a lot easier for the dealers in respect of getting feedback, being able to regulate and to standardise,? Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

?It would essentially provide assistance to the dealers and also help consumers, the ordinary Fijians in terms of accessing spare parts at a reasonable price, at a standard that is acceptable and to be able to ensure they are readily available.?

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also highlighted the number of incentives provided by the Government to encourage people to have newer cars at affordable prices.

?Only two years ago, the Prime Minister announced a reduction in the duty for those vehicles that are 2500cc or below by reducing the duty to 15 per cent. At the same time, there is a restriction placed on the importation of vehicles that were more than five years old, cars and specialised equipment up to 80 years,? the minister said.

?We want to restrict the intake of old vehicles that do not just cause problems for the consumers but are also problematic for the environment. That?s why this year we?ve lifted up the 5-year age restriction as long as the motor vehicle is Euro 4 compliant. There are vehicles that are Euro 4 compliant that are more than five years old.?

There has been a duty reduction for readymade buses as well.

?The duty was reduced to 10 per cent. This is why many of the bus companies are actually going overseas and sourcing buses directly themselves from China, Malaysia and Indonesia,? Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

?This encourages people to use public transportation a lot more. Thereby, it places lesser burden on our roads. It also makes transportation a lot more affordable and available to everybody.?

Government has also imposed zero rated duty on a number of items ranging from tourist items to bus chassis, tractors and outboard motor engines.

?All of these are zero rated or reduced duty. However, despite the reduction of duty on these items it does not translate into an equivalent reduction in the retail price. On one hand Government is losing revenue and on the other hand the consumer is also not benefiting from the reduction.?

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said a major emphasis was also placed on the improvement of road conditions around the country with an allocation of $422million in the 2013 Budget.

?The conditions of the roads in Fiji have been a direct result of nearly two decades of neglect and non-expertise input into the development or maintenance of our roads. The roads need to be resealed on a regular basis. We are playing catch up. There would be less impact and damage in cars with road upgrades,? Mr Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted.

MINFO