The rapid increase in fuel prices threatens the transport industry and boat operators are contemplating whether to continue business.
During a national budget consultation last night, Goundar Shipping Managing Director, George Goundar claimed he incurred a four million dollar loss last year.
Goundar further claimed that he lost one million dollars in the first six months of this year.
“Shipping is challenging as you know when COVID came, the only industry that survived that push through Fiji was shipping. Tourism was shut down everything was shut down. I had to run I took a $4 million loss last year. I would have to shut my vessel down.”
George Goundar [Source: Fijian Government / Facebook]
Goundar says while the government’s franchise assists them, the grant cannot cover all the expenses and losses incurred.
For instance, he says for franchise travel to Rotuma, the government’s assistance is $25,000 but the fuel cost to and from Rotuma is around $67,000.
Goundar says trips to Northern Lau costs over $50,000.
In response, Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum accepted the written proposal submitted by Goundar and says the matter will be looked into.
“I think where we are subsidizing for example shipping and even for aviation because we also do subsidizing for them too you know for a plane to fly to Kadavu or Lau etc we call for tenders and then we fund that particular route. Most definitely of course fuel cost will now have to be taken into account.”
The national budget will be delivered on July 15th.
George Goundar during a national budget consultation [Source: Fijian Government / Facebook]