The Fiji Bus Operators Association (FBOA) is concerned and disappointed at being excluded from a meeting organised by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism last week to discuss national preparedness for the Covid-19 pandemic.

FBOA President Nisar Ali Shah has written to the Minister, Premila Kumar, to register the association’s concern that as the representative body of the Fiji bus industry they had been left out of an important meeting of stakeholders on Thursday 12 March 2020.

“The bus industry employs approximately 10,000 people and provides transportation for about 330,000 people daily, including school children, and to be left out of this important meeting defies belief,” Mr Shah said.

“We are astounded that our association and its members were not invited to participate in this meeting. With Covid-19 now declared a global pandemic, transportation around the world is being drastically affected. We are not immune to the devastating impacts of the virus and will soon begin to experience it for ourselves.

“We are acutely that the movement of people is a big factor in the virus’ spread, therefore we must play an important part in any decision that will impact on people’s ability to travel,” Mr Shah said.

Mr Shah added: “Also, the bus industry relies heavily on the import of spare parts and tyres and with production virtually halted in China, where we import most of our supplies from, there will be a huge impact on our operations.

“Our concerns about being excluded should be taken seriously because about half of Fiji’s population depends on the bus industry daily.”

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