Minister for Commerce, Elijah Doromuala, has caused an outcry from local cocoa exporters after he signed an extraordinary gazette to allow a foreign company to trade and export cocoa with major exemptions.Albert Fono from Arania Enterprises says the Commerce Minister signed the gazette this month, allowing a subsidiary of foreign owned Carpenters group of companies to trade and export cocoa from the country with major exemptions on tax and duties.
"This is a slap in the cocoa industry face," said Mr. Fono. He also alleges the extraordinary gazette license excludes the Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA)from checking the quality of the company's cocoa prior to export.
He also claims the company does not meet CEMA's board requirements for a license and had been turned down three times.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary for Commerce Hence Vaekesa has confirmed the gazette but says they will make a formal response today.