11 Mar 2004

Fiji New Labour backs end to phone monopoly drive

5:11 pm on 11 March 2004

The head of Fiji's New Labour Unity Party is backing a call for an end to the telecommunications monopoly of Fiji Telecom.

The Labour Party says Telecom Fiji is in deep trouble and there is a high level of dissatisfaction in the country over exorbitant charges and poor service.

The Labour Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the company's 25-year exclusive licence must be revoked to allow competition in the market.

Ratu Meli Vesikula, the president of the New Labour Unity Party, says he agrees.

"In my view Telecom is over-manned, it's cumbersome and it's overpaid, and we the consumers of Fiji, individuals and the business sector, are paying for their lack of proficiency, I'm afraid."

Ratu Meli says he's not among those, however, who have called for the removal of the chairman of Telecom Fiji, Lionel Yee, and the managing director, Winston Thompson.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Telecommunications, Simione Kaitani, says the government will continue the monopoly arrangement.