10 Mar 2004

Fiji Labour Party wants end to phone monopolies

11:09 am on 10 March 2004

The Fiji Labour Party is calling on the government to revoke the 25-year monopoly of the country's domestic, international and mobile telephone companies.

Radio Fiji reports that this follows a row in which a government senator, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, has called for the removal of the chairman of Telecom Fiji Limited, Lionel Yee, and its managing director Winston Thompson.

Senator Dimuri has told the Upper House the two top men have failed to bring charges down to an affordable level and have failed to promote senior indigenous staff to key positions, preferring instead to hire expatriates.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, is quoted as saying these issues are seriously affecting the company's performance as the sole provider of telecommunications services in Fiji.

Mr Chaudhry says both business and private customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the poor quality and exorbitant charges.

He says monopolies have inherent inefficiencies and their exclusive status should be revoked.

Meanwhile, Telecom Fiji has sent a senior manager on leave for allegedly leaking information about the company.