The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development plans to upscale its assistance under the Seafaring Entrepreneur Assistance (SEA) Programme, particularly to Fiji’s remote, rural and maritime communities.
This will foster a culture of entrepreneurship by promoting a safe and inclusive environment for travelling and business ventures in the maritime region.
In a press conference, Minister Responsible Sakiasi Ditoka said that the SEA programme was introduced by the Government, with the intention to subsidise the purchase of fully equipped and operational fibreglass for Fijians living in the maritime regions.
Ditoka said the subsidy was $10,000 grant to be paid to 50 recipients of communities that were selected beforehand.
He said the SEA programme is expected to improve transport accessibility in the rural and maritime communities, as well as improving access to markets. The boats to be procured will include lifesaving equipment.
“The Ministry has invited applications for this assistance. I would like to highlight that there is a slight change in the programme.”
“In particular, the assistance is targeted at any community in the maritime, coastal and river bank communities and applications can be either individual or community.”
The Minister said applicants will be required to pay their one-third contribution in cash, and can be either for boat only, engine only or boat and engine -The boat can either be wooden or fiberglass.
He said a key requirement is having a Class 6 Boat Master Licence, and Fishing licence if the purpose of the boat is for fishing.
“The cost of the boat and engine would range between $21,200 to $26,200, depending on the type of boat and engine capacity.”
“So, a person would be paying between $7,100 to $8,800 as one third and the Government will pay the balance depending on the limited budget that we have,” he added
Meanwhile, In the 2020-2021 financial year, the Government assisted 16 applicants from the communities in Vatulele, Naviti, Nacula, Taveuni, Kioa, Beqa, Ono-i-Lau, Kabara, Vanuavatu, Nayau, Moala, Namuka-i-Lau, Vanua Balavu, Moce, Ogea and Cicia, while the following year, only 2 applicants were assisted, who were from Yanuca and Matuku.