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Retailers woe as foreign traders bite into their profits

24
Apr '08
The business community of Fiji held a meeting today to decide a plan of action against Indian exhibitors who have intruded the local market and usurped the profits of the domestic retailers.

Situation has become critical because despite the fact that these Indian Retailers are flouting rules and regulations, they are being allowed to ply their hawking trade in Fiji. It is believed that these traders are not paying regular taxes as goods at import have been grossly undervalued, and they are not even registered for VAT. Besides, they have also been disregarding the PIB regulations, always imposed on the normal retailers.

Moreover, there has also been a speculation about a lot of substandard and seconds merchandise being sold at these so called exhibitions by Indian retailers which are hosted under the pretext of cultural exchanges.

As a consequence, the already depleting retail trade which is down by an average of 40 percent this year will be hit further by this vulture culture.

In an exclusive interview with Fibre2fashion, Mr Himmat Lodhia, President of Fiji Retailers Association stated, “Indian traders have been evading taxes and are making money out of their unscrupulous activity which is neither helping local trader in Fiji nor generating foreign exchange for Indian Government.”

Fiji retailers are hoping that the Government with the assistance of other concerned ministries, Reserve Bank and Fiji Islands Revenue & Customs Authority (FIRCA) would step in to halt such illegal and immoral trade for the ailing economy.

According to Mr Himmat Lodhia, the meeting held today largely involved discussions with Ministry of trade & Commerce, Ministry of immigration, Consumer Council, Reserve bank of Fiji, Fiji Trade & investment Board. There will be positive output from the meeting and the association is looking forward to stricter rules and regulation for foreign exhibitors for betterment of local retailers.


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