30 Sep 2008

Fiji interim Government promises Commerce Commission will shortly be back in action

4:22 pm on 30 September 2008

Fiji's interim Minister of Commerce and Trade says that the Commerce Commission should re-open again within days.

The Commerce Commission hasn't opened for business yet this week because of a lack of funds for its operations.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says that the Ministry witheld quarterly funding from the Commission over questionable spending, including unapproved salary hikes.

But he says that the Commission should not have had to close its doors, and the situation could have been avoided, if its Chairman had only agreed to an alternative plan.

"The Minister of Commerce in fact wanted to facilitate a temporary source of funding for the Commerce Commission to be up and running, or to keep its doors open. However he had refused for that temporary funding. He wanted the whole quarterly funding. And the Commerce Commission will be up and running in the next couple of days. We've obviously made arrangements. It hasn't brought the country to a grounding halt as may be suggested and there are obviously quite a number of issues that the Commerce Commission needs to be addressing."

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says one issue is the move to liberalise the telecommunications industry, with Digicel's entry into Fiji tomorrow.