22 Apr 2013

Fisheries exemption from Tonga consumption tax welcomed

6:12 pm on 22 April 2013

One of the biggest players in Tonga's fishing industry is welcoming the government's decision to exempt the fisheries sector from a 15 percent goods and services tax but says for her, it's a little too late.

The exemption, which means those in the fishing industry are exempted from all duties and consumption tax on fishing inputs, came into effect on April the 5th.

Tricia Emberson, the managing director of Alatini Fisheries, says when the tax was introduced several years ago the government was meant to refund the money but when that didn't happen, many operators couldn't afford to stay in business.

She says the exemption is a start for the industry but not its saviour and what is needed now is some government funding.

"Our banks have become very hesitant to lend money to private sector and I think this, coupled with a little bit of cash injection to allow the boats to bring themselves up to survey, would be a great start in the right direction."

Tricia Emberson says fisheries and tourism need the sort of financial help from government that's been offered to agriculture.