BOAT TRAVELLERS TO DIG DEEP AS SEA FARES HIKE

Ships birthing at Point Cruz. Photo credit: SPC.

Ships birthing at Point Cruz. Photo credit: SPC.

Solomon Islanders travelling via inter-island passenger boats will have to dig deep for extra cash to pay for their sea fare comes next month.

This announcement was made after the Solomon Islands Maritime Transport Association (SIMTA) decided that sea fare will be increased from the 1st of May.

Vice Chairman of SIMTA John Kwaita attributes the fare increase to the ports authority’s steep tariffs on local ships.

“After our meeting on 20th April te association has agreed that the charges especially with regards to sea fares will come into effect on the 1st of May and followed by frieght cost charges in a few weeks after that. We will have another meeting to decide on the rates according to the different zones in our country.”

He adds, this will affect travelling passengers, saying while the SIPA reforms is good, wider consultations between stakeholders should have been held prior to making such decisions.

“When we fail to consult each other and see the different perspectives that our stakeholders can see and not trying to understand each other, it will cost ourselves and those feeling the costs are the indegenous people in the provinces, and so travel charges are hiking, cost of goods are going up and so as their frieghts. Furthermore, household goods are also hiking so we are in for some real challenges.”

Meanwhile former Member of Parliament for West Honiara, Yukio Sato is concerned, the tariffs imposed by Ports Authority will seriously affect indigenous Solomon Islanders and business houses.

Speaking to SIBC News, Mr. Sato says with the sea fare hike, students, people seeking employment and ordinary travellers will suffer.

Mr. Sato says this is an issue which the National Government should seriously consider.

He recommends, the government should seriously consider increasing its budget.

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