The first meeting of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (‘FRCS’) Business Reform Committee was held at 10:30am on 12 August 2019 at Level 8, Suvavou House.
Committee members comprised high powered delegates of Fijian CEOs, entrepreneurs, and executives who are tasked to improve various processes of FRCS associated with starting, sustaining and growing businesses in Fiji.
Members of the Committee include Ms Anjani Singh; Mr Sandeep Chauhan; Mr Nitesh Lal; Ms Fantasha Lockington; Mr Saud Abdul Minam; Mr John Samisoni; Mr Himmat Lodhia; Ms Adelene Tutu; Mr Dilip Khatri; Mr Peter Rankin; Mr Sanjay Kaba; Ms Marita Manley; Mr Mohammed Khan; Mr Sandip Kumar; Ms Lala Sowane; Mr Bhavesh Kumar; Mr Romit Meghji; Mr George Goundar; Mr Dilen Kumar; Mr Nilesh Prasad; Mr Justin Hunter; Dr Nur Bano Ali; Ms Sangeeta Maharaj; Mr Winston Hill; Mr Kirit Patel; Mr Kaushal Tappoo; Mr Gordon Jenkins; and Ms Vera Chute.
The Committee is chaired by Mr Dilip Khatri with Mr Sandeep Chauhan serving as Deputy Chairman.
Government has called upon these specialised and successful individuals from varying business and industrial backgrounds to revolutionise the processes and services delivered by FRCS to the public. This is governed by an overarching mandate to foster transparency, improve efficiency and support a more customer-oriented level of service. The Committee will reach out and utilise the resources, knowledge and experiences of its members to prepare a comprehensive report on ways to improve the services offered by FRCS.
The Committee was first announced by the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in the 2019-2020 National Budget Address.
“Fiji has charted historic economic progress because we are a government who recognises the importance of collaborating with our private sector partners to fuel the engine of the Fijian economy. Running a successful enterprise isn’t always easy – no one understands the challenges better than women and men who have started and built business themselves. Through the Business Reform Committee, we’re bringing those invaluable experiences to bear in re-shaping FRCS into a more customer-focussed organisation. We cast a wide net in assembling this Committee. We wrote to representative organisations across the economy – some responded and others did not. We also asked some specific members to join given their reputations and experiences within various sectors of the business community” said the AG. “The task of the Committee will be to root out unnecessary bureaucracy and inconsistency wherever it resides in FRCS and instil a new corporate culture within FRCS that is empathetic to the challenges business face and personalised to the unique needs of Fijian businesses of different sizes and from different industries.”
Key objectives of the Committee amongst others are reviewing of the tax and customs administration, ensuring smooth implementation of the VAT Monitoring Systems, improving FRCS’ stakeholder engagement strategies, examining the effectiveness of trade and investment facilitation policies, and building FRCS’s service to accommodate businesses of different sizes and sectors.
In the meeting, the Permanent Secretary for Economy presented the fiscal revenue to members, followed by a presentation by the Chief Executive Officer of FRCS. The Attorney General and Honourable Minister for Economy briefed and guided members of the product Government expects out of the Committee, as it will be focused on soliciting and collating of information relevant to improving the processes of FRCS. A report of the findings will consequently be presented to the Ministry of Economy once finalised.
Members of the Committee also deliberated on a way forward by setting realistic and pragmatic timelines along with designing sub-structures of the Committee to ensure smooth execution of tasks and report is submitted on time while being fully mindful of the vast information to be sieved and digested with appropriate solutions and recommendations developed.
The FRCS Business Reform Committee will collate and categorise all submissions to make meaningful information and propositions before holding its second meeting which is tentatively scheduled on 27 August 2019.