Rebate scheme, low revenue affecting tuna industry: Official

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THE tuna industry is a key economic contributor to the growth of the fisheries sector but is currently faced with challenges such as the rebate scheme, a National Fishery Authority (NFA) official says.
NFA executive manager for provincial support and industry development (PISD) Justin Ilakini said tuna had been driving growth in the sector.
“When you think about PNG fisheries which is also a key economic contributor, it is tuna that is driving growth,” he said.
“Since the early 1990s, up to now, it has been generating employment for our people that is translated into benefits such as their incomes,” Ilakini said.
PNG Fishing Industry Association (PNGFIA) secretary Donald Papaol said NFA was paying approximately K4 million per month to each of the tuna processors under the rebate scheme.
He said there were six tuna processors in the country so there was about K24 million a month which was paid to the processors and K288 million a year.
He said that was the challenge that the industry was currently facing.
Ilakini said they were able to see growth because they had markets to export canned tuna as a result of the duty free market access to the European Union (EU) market under the interim economic partnership agreement (IEPA) signed in 2007.
“We have designated transshipment ports in the country. We have Wewak, Lae, Madang, Rabaul,” he said.
“These are the ports in which fishing vessels come to offload to carrier boats, and carrier boats take those fishes out. As you can see our contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), all those factors are actual economic indicators that contribute to our GDP. Fisheries actually has been contributing to GDP.”
Ilakini highlighted other challenges that the industry faced where the Government did not really understand to prioritise and increase revenue.
“There are factors that influences our ability to generate revenue. One of these is the threat to revenue flows.”

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