THE SENATE has approved amendments to two companion pieces of legislation aimed at benefiting the Coconut Industry Board.
An Act to Amend the Coconut Industry Aid Act and An Act to Amend the Coconut Industry Control Act are both necessary to validate and make legal earlier actions of the Board.
The Coconut Industry Aid Act is aimed at allowing the Coconut Industry Board to issue licences for coconut products and substitutes. The Board, although only empowered to consider import licence applications for edible oils, has been issuing these licences instead of the relevant Minister.
The Act seeks to regularise the situation by validating the actions of the Board and indemnifying the Board against consequential liability.
Fines have also been increased for breaches of the Act. For example, persons who import edible oil or export copra without a licence will be increased from $200 to $20,000.
Amendments to the Coconut Industry Control Act seek to provide for the imposition of a cess on coconut products and substitutes, manufactured locally or imported. The money from the cess will be put into a fund and used for research purposes.