Friday, January 29, 2010

Customs officers plead for Australia, NZ help - Thursday, January 28, 2010

THE Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority has urged Australia and New Zealand to assist Fiji in terms of training officers.

FIRCA chairman Colonel Pio Tikoduadua made the plea to Australia and New Zealand during the International Customs Day celebration at the FIRCA Complex in Nasese on Tuesday. Col Tikoduadua said Australia and New Zealand should assist the country in technical expertise on border control because it would be beneficial to all parties.

"It's important for us because Customs is at the forefront of border control and we depend on them and security and border control agencies to protect Fiji and its people," he said.

"Our border is just too big for what we can afford to protect, so we call for all agencies to work together, see their resources and how they can carry out their work efficiently without having to duplicate their work.

"We are calling on our neighbours, particularly regional and international organisations, for assistance. But Australia and New Zealand will not allow us to send people for work attachments.

"It is also in their interest that Fiji is safe."

FIRCA chief executive Jitoko Tikolevu confirmed that his officers were denied from some training programs in these countries.

He added that all training on border control was conducted through the Oceania Customs Organisation in Suva.

He said the OCO was funded by New Zealand with each 22 member country giving contributions as well.

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