FIJI CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL PRICE HIKES

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SUVA. Fiji (January 25, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Fiji's Prices and Incomes Board has begun a crackdown on wholesalers and retail outlet operators who illegally raise prices.

Last week, the PIB began investigating several companies - including petrol outlets - which had raised their prices following announcement of the devaluation of the Fiji currency by 20 per cent, The Daily Post reports.

Meantime, opposition finance spokesman Dr. Wadan Narsey has called on the government to send a clear message to businesses not to engage in indiscriminate pricing of goods, Radio Fiji reports.

According to Narsey, only prices of imported goods should go up, adding that the benefits of the Fiji dollar devaluation will be lost if prices on all goods rise.

The President of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Council, Padam Lala, said about 7,000 people in the garment industry could lose their jobs because of the devaluation. The industry is against the move, he added, because reasons given "do not hold water" and the change is good only for a few businesses, The Fiji Times reports.

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