The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has urged all importers of used goods vehicles including  Hiace, Vannette and similar vehicles, to acquire prior clearance from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) when modifying it from a goods to a passenger vehicle, and its subsequent registration with the Authority.


This directive comes amidst the concern on the practice of fitting additional seats on the imported goods vehicles post-Customs clearance, thereby circumventing established controls for passenger vehicles.


LTA and FRCS highlighted that the crux of the matter revolved around the significant disparity in duty rates and import permit restrictions between passenger vehicles and goods vehicles. Passenger vehicles, subject to stringent regulations, are bound by specific criteria, including age restrictions (8 years old) and emission standards (Euro 4). Contrarily,  goods vehicles adhere only to Euro 4 emission standards, presenting a loophole that certain entities exploit.


This deceptive practice not only undermines existing regulatory mechanisms but also poses potential safety hazards and tax evasion risks. By masquerading goods vehicles as passenger vehicles post-Customs clearance, importers evade the higher duty rates and stricter import permit restrictions applicable to passenger vehicles.


“The illegal modification of goods vehicles into passenger vehicles without prior approval from FRCS and LTA compromises safety standards, as these vehicles may not undergo the requisite inspections and assessments mandated for passenger vehicles,” said LTA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Irimaia Rokosawa.



In response to these concerns, Mr Rokosawa said the Authority would uphold its commitment in maintaining the integrity of Fiji’s transportation regulations and safeguard public safety. The Authority will intensify its monitoring efforts to scrutinise the registration of all imported Hiace Vannette goods vehicles and similar variations to it.


“Any attempt to transform these vehicles into passenger vehicles without prior clearance from the FRCS will be met with stringent enforcement measures. The illicit conversion of goods vehicles into passenger vehicles not only jeopardises public safety but also undermines the fairness and transparency of our regulatory framework.


“The LTA is steadfast in working in partnership with the FRCS to curb these illicit activities and uphold the highest standards of compliance and safety within Fiji’s transportation sector,” Mr Rokosawa said.


FRCS Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Udit Singh also urged importers and stakeholders to adhere to regulatory protocols and ensure full compliance with Customs and transportation regulations.


“As the governing body of motor vehicle import permit, FRCS is in full support of the collaboration with the LTA in the improvement of trade compliance in relation to motor vehicles in Fiji,” Mr Singh said.


He said any attempt to manipulate the classification of vehicles for personal gain would be met with stringent penalties and legal repercussions.

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