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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 31) – The Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry says Fiji should buy fuel from Papua New Guinea and not import from Australia and Singapore.

Chamber president Taito Waradi said it was an option that should be considered if the price of goods was to be controlled.

He was reacting to a surge in the price of cooking gas and freight cost as a result of soaring fuel prices.

Businesses have warned it will pass additional costs on to customers if fuel prices do not come down.

"We are a member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and can help each other. I don't know what the leaders discussed at the forum but it is something we can explore," Mr Waradi said. "PNG is the only country that has oil export to cater for our needs. They also have an oil refinery and can supply our needs. We should show the world that no matter how small we are, we are capable of coming up with initiatives to sustain ourselves."

He said another option was for banks to give interest-free loans to those intending to start a small business. In Samoa, he said the government had directed the development bank to issue interest-free loans.

Mr Waradi said two other options of tackling rising fuel prices were in bulk buying or getting a rebate from Fiji Sugar Corporation, Fiji Electricity Authority and Emperor Gold Mine.

"The fuel price will have an effect on retail prices and the Government must come up with a policy decision," he said.

From tomorrow, a normal gas cylinder from Fiji Gas will cost FJ$37.50 (up by FJ$2.50).

The price of a 50kg cylinder will increase from FJ$131.50 to FJ$141.10.

For Blue Gas, the new price for a 13kg cylinder is the same as Fiji Gas but the 50kg cylinder will be FJ$130 up by FJ$10.

November 1, 2005

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