Fishing refund deal a boost for local vessels

Business

By GYNNIE KERO
The Government has decided to give vessel day scheme (VDS) refunds to domestic fishing companies linked to onshore processing facilities.
The Fisheries Industry Association (FIA) said this yesterday when welcoming the Government’s decision to invest in infrastructure and support operational costs at processing facilities in the country.
“Both fishing and processing getting incentives by the Government will be a boost to onshore processing,” the FIA said.
“The decision to give rebates to processing facilities, and give VDS refunds to domestic fleets, only for fish processing in PNG, is a step in the right direction.”
The association said it would be fair for the industry once the special concession was granted. It said at present, domestic fishing companies were paying the same fees as distant-water fishing nations that unloaded their catch outside PNG.
A total of 63 domestic vessels are linked to processing facilities, out of which 32 are locally-based foreign vessels and 31 are PNG-flagged vessels.
FIA said intervention by the Government would boost production and associated benefits. It would boost the sector’s contribution to overall economic growth by 4 per cent to 6 per cent.
The association said: “We are pleased that the Government understands the difficulties posed by this policy, and has intervened by providing the VDS refunds to support our operations. This intervention will ensure a constant supply of fish, and will lead to an increase in production at all our six processing plants in the country.
“We will work closely with the National Fisheries Authority to secure more export markets for our products as production increases in the coming years.”
The NFA board is expected to meet this week to determine the level of support, which will then be sent to Cabinet for endorsement and implementation.

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