Major Developments – 2010
Reforms in FIRCA
The primary focus of the Reforms Project is to implement recommendations of the 2008 reports submitted by the International Monetary Fund and World Customs Organization Diagnostic Study on SAFE framework of standards Missions. In order to do this, a Reforms Project Team was established in 2009, and is currently analyzing existing business processes, and systems with a view to recommending how processes can be re-engineered to improve efficiency, and to enable FIRCA to deal with the challenges of globalization, trade liberalization, changing business environment, and increased of technology in the commercial world.
There is a Reforms Project Plan, which is also reflected in the strategies identified in this Corporate Plan.
FIRCA’s new Corporate Strategy
This is a key deliverable in the FIRCA Reforms Plan. With the assistance of the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre, a consultant was commissioned to assist in the review of the organization’s Corporate Plan. The intention is to weld key elements of the reform plan into the refreshed plan in a manner that will ensure FIRCA’s future success.
The process involved close scrutiny of the strengths and weaknesses of the current corporate plan, the activity occurring or planned within FIRCA translated into strategic themes, the environment that FIRCA faces both now and in the future and what does that translate to for FIRCA strategy and planning. It will also involve a re-look at FIRCA’s corporate statements (mission, vision, values) and identification of the new set of Key Result Areas. This refreshed plan will then set the platform for the remainder of the reforms.
Super Yacht Charter Decree
As part of the Governments’ intention to enhance the tourism sector, the Super-Yacht Decree came into force this year for yachts with a certain measurement and intending to do charter in Fiji. The yachts would be imported duty free provided it satisfies concession conditions under code 239 of the Customs Tariff Act. Approvals and monitoring aspects will be conducted by Customs.
Tourist VAT Refund Scheme
In the 2010 Budget, the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance announced the introduction of a Tourist VAT Refund Scheme (TVRS), effective from 1 February, 2010. This government initiative will allow tourists to claim a refund (subject to certain conditions) on the VAT that they pay on goods purchased in Fiji.
To facilitate this initiative, FIRCA began the preparatory work on implementing the TVRS. From 1 February, 2010 two counters at the Nadi International Airport and one at the Suva Wharf were open for refund of VAT paid on purchases made by tourists.
Only purchases from shops authorized by FIRCA are entitled for refunds. To this effect, we had made changes to the Fiji Integrated Taxation System and trained our frontline staff. We also undertook necessary consultations with relevant stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of this policy measure. This consultation has continued post-implementation so that new issues concerning the scheme are dealt with.
The inception of this scheme aims to provide a boost to our tourism industry and position Fiji as a competitive shopping destination for tourists. A total of 5,504 applications were received with $583,037 refunded in the first six months of 2010.
FIRCA launches E-Payment System
In July, FIRCA launched an Electronic Payment Service, which enables taxpayers to electronically access their debit/credit account to make tax payments from the comfort of their homes or offices.
The system was developed internally and was launched jointly with ANZ Bank and Westpac Bank. It will allow their customers to register for Internet Banking or Telephone Banking to use Bill Pay services to make tax payments to FIRCA. The system will enable taxpayers to make payments from anywhere in the world via the internet.
FIRCA opens new Savusavu Offices
On 9 June, 2010 the new office premises for our Savusavu operations were opened by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama. The center is located at Lot 17 Nakama, Savusavu.
These new premises in Savusavu facilitate the expansion of our capabilities to address the growing challenges and needs of the constantly evolving operating environment. The new office will also lay the foundation for building a skilled and professional team that can better attend to our customers’ needs.