13th November 01:09 PM
Amnesty periods have been given to the companies whose trucks were booked for overloading - LTA
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 08/01/2018

The Land Transport Authority has today made it clear that they have given amnesty periods to the companies whose trucks have been booked for overloading on our roads last year.

Overloaded trucks have caused a lot of damage to our roads and LTA is the enforcement agency that is checking the trucks and fining the companies for this serious breach.

LTA has made it clear that they have given the companies until January 15th to pay up the fines.

However, National Federation Party President Pio Tikoduadua says the ultimatum by LTA to road haulage companies in the country to clear their backlog of $5 million worth of fines for overloading will put great financial pressure on the companies and severely impact their operations.

Tikoduadua says the $5 million was accumulated through a fine of $1000.00 per tonne in excess of the stipulated weight of a vehicle.

The NFP President is calling the LTA’s fine collection as hostile and says it is targeting small and micro owned enterprises with unrealistic timelines.

Tikoduadua says while they appreciate that LTA is mandated by law to ensure safe and orderly travel on our national roads, the NFP is inundated with complaints from small and micro owned enterprises in the private sector who they feel are being unjustly shackled with undue pressure to cough up these huge fines.

He also says that where overloading is concerned, surely the involvement of the Fiji Roads Authority makes sense.

Tikoduadua says in addition to the LTA levying a 50% interest rate on top of unpaid fines by the due date, the LTA’s revised laws also empower them to issue departure stoppage or they are black-listed from leaving the country.

However, LTA Chairman Vijay Maharaj says Tikoduadua unfortunately fails to acknowledge that there has been multiple amnesty periods issued for these fines to be paid without 50% additional late penalty fees.

Maharaj says the LTA regulations which came into force on 7th April 2017, provided not only road haulage companies, but any other companies or persons, a total of 90 days or approximately 3 months from 7th April 2017 to pay their fines without the late penalty fee.

However, the LTA board and the Government through its findings established that the companies and persons were not paying their fines within the given timeframe and therefore an amendment to Regulations was made to allow another amnesty period from 26th September to 30th November 2017.

Maharaj says while most companies and persons were paying up their fines without 50% additional late penalty fees, there was an overwhelming request from the public and road hauliers to allow further time for payment of fines.

He says the LTA board and Government then decided to issue another amnesty period, for the companies and persons to pay their fines without 50% additional late penalty fees, which is currently effective until 15th January 2018.

The LTA Chairman says LTA strongly believes that NFP and Tikoduadua are misguided in their ambiguous assumptions and claims without reference to the LTA Board and Government’s efforts to give several amnesty periods for companies and persons to pay their fines without any late penalty fees.

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