Operations cease

Michael Towler (front) with other participants during a break at the Fiji Australia Business Forum at Marriott Resort Fiji Momi Bay. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

AT least five garment factories have either completely closed down physically or have been reduced to a virtual operation.

This was confirmed by the TCF Council president Michael Towler who added that the companies that had closed down as a result of the impact of the pandemic were members of the council.

Mr Towler said the council believed that the workers who lost their jobs as a result of the closure of the companies were in the vicinity of about 500 with 200 of them being staff members of one garment factory alone.

According to Mr Towler the TCF Council held its board meeting last week to get updates on where the industry was headed.

He said everybody who was exporting was doing it on a full scale while those factories that were manufacturing for the local industry were dying out. “Some of them are either working very few hours or actually have closed,” he said.

He said the companies catering for the locals were suffering because they had to compete with the cheaper imports as the duty on imported clothing had been reduced from 32 per cent to 15 per cent which meant local manufacturers found it hard to compete.

While some of the factories had closed down there were other bigger factories that had taken in staff that had lost their jobs.

Mr Towler said there were some operators who still operated but had outsourced their orders to other factory operators.

While some operators are suffering there are some operators who have been fortunate enough to be able to continue with their operations.

Mr Towler is the managing director of Performance Flotation Developments which manufactures life jackets and he said business was booming.

According to Mr Towler his markets were Australia and New Zealand and the demand for his product had been increasing over the past few months.

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