Government assists flood-affected small businesses

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The Ministry of Industry and Trade has set aside $30,000 for small businesses to "soften the blow" of the losses they made during the floods in the West.

Attorney-General and Minister for Industry & Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made this announcement on Thursday night after an assessment of the damage sustained during the floods this week.

He was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary for Trade and Industry Shaheen Ali and spent much time with the business owners in Nadi and Ba to gauge the level of assistance they may require.

"The Ministry of Industry and Trade has set aside $30,000 to essentially assess all the small businesses in Nadi, Ba and even Rakiraki that have been affected by the flooding, in particular smaller businesses such as those running the cafeteria or tailoring shops," Mr Saiyed Khaiyum said while in Ba.

He said the Ministry together with the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and the respective municipal chambers will do the work by making an assessment on the amount and type of damage suffered by these businesses.

The Minister has instructed that these assessments be done by Tuesday afternoon.

"They will go and identify the businesses that have been affected. We will only be targeting the smaller businesses, a lot of them are just single operated companies, identifying what are their requirements or payments that need to be made for things like their business license, National Fire Authority Certification, and OHS certification," Minister Sayed-Khaiyum explained. "These are the three major regulatory requirements that need to be met and for them to continue with their business."

He said many of these businesses missed out on their opportunity as this was the peak time with the public on a back to school mode, thus the uptake of the businesses were high around this period.

"We would like the small businesses to come forward to work with their chambers and the Fiji chamber of commerce so that we can quickly expedite this process and have the funds given directly to the municipal councils and to those who have already paid given to them at least within the next fortnight," Minister Sayed-Khaiyum said.