13 Mar 2012

Tonga fishing industry wants Consumption Tax clarified

2:12 pm on 13 March 2012

Tonga's Fishing Industry Association says the best thing the government can do to revitalise the sector is sort out Consumption Tax as it applies to exporters.

Fishing is one of the key sectors of the Tonga economy but has been moribund for years.

Efforts are being made to turn the economy around, with tourism seen as the most vital sector but fishing, along with agriculture, is also important.

The Association's secretary treasurer, Tricia Emberson, says many businesses have folded because of rising fuel costs, but she says the consumption tax has also had a major effect.

Ms Emberson says as exporters they can claim the tax back but that's a cumbersome process and it ties up cash flow.

"We believe that if they change the law in that we were exempted from Consumption Tax on our export inputs that that would have a positive cash flow impact for us and we would therefore re-invest in fishing vessels and/or upgrade our current vessels."