MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 4:00PM 17/02/13

?CAPTION:?Ambassador Mataitoga with Madame Eriko YAMATANI at their meeting in Tokyo.

1. FIJI ENVOY MEETS SENIOR JAPANESE GOVERNMENT POLITICIAN – Fiji?s Ambassador to Japan His Excellency Isikeli Mataitoga met with Madam Eriko Yamatani, a Member and Chair of the Special Committee on Overseas Development Assistance and Related Matters, of the House of Councillors, in Tokyo to look at strengthening relations between the two countries.

2. AGRICULTURE MINISTRY TO CARRY OUT INVESTIGATIONS IN TAVEUNI – The Ministry of Agriculture will carry out investigations into the purchasing of Dalo in the northern division below the agreed prices set by government.

3. FIJIAN GOVERNMENT RECEIVES NEW EMPLOYMENT OPPURTUNITIES IN THE EMIRATES – The Fijian Government has received new vacancy opportunities in the United Arab Emirates through the Ministry of Labour.

4. MINISTER PUSHES STUDENTS TO WORK HARD – ?Make use of the scholarships provided to you to make a difference in your lives, the lives of your family, your community and the nation?.

 

1 FIJI ENVOY MEETS SENIOR JAPANESE GOVERNMENT POLITICIAN

Fiji?s Ambassador to Japan His Excellency Isikeli Mataitoga met with Madam Eriko Yamatani, a Member and Chair of the Special Committee on Overseas Development Assistance and Related Matters, of the House of Councillors, in Tokyo to look at strengthening relations between the two countries.

This significant meeting between Ambassador Mataitoga and Madam Yamatani who is a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was intended to create greater awareness within the higher echelons of the newly elected government in Japan on Fiji and Fijian issues in the context of its relations with Japan.

Apart from the general political issues discussed, Ambassador Mataitoga took the opportunity to thank Madam Yamatani of the generous assistance Fiji has received over the years from Japan. He also expressed that there is scope for exploring more targeted assistance within the existing assistance program for Fiji, which will be more beneficial to Fijians, as well as achieving the Japanese policy objectives of its ODA policy.

Some of the specific issues raised by Ambassador Mataitoga include the Nadi River Realignment Project and the urgency that must attend this proposal, which Japan has accepted to undertake its feasibility study. Another is to seek some flexibility, in dealing countries like Fiji, unlike the vast majority of pacific island countries; we do have real potential to export a limited range of primary and manufactured products to Japan, if some flexibility market entry conditions were provided by Japan.

Ambassador Mataitoga proposed to Madame Yamatani, that one of the best forms of assistance Japan could provide Fiji is market opportunities for some export products from Fiji, with quotas, duty free.

This will ensure that the market Fijian goods will take is a ?drop-in-the-ocean? and would not disturb domestic commerce in Japan such as Fiji goods produced by Japanese owned company and using Japanese technology, which are environmentally sensitive, may be given a quota to import those products to Japan, duty free.

This would increase Japanese investment in Fiji, as well as create employment opportunities for Fijians.

If the investment is in the agriculture or agro-processing sector, a higher level of local participants is likely, which will directly contribute to poverty alleviation in rural areas.

Discussions between the two parties also looked at the possibility of Fiji being the source of skilled labour to Japan in certain fields such as nursing, teaching, accountancy, skilled construction workers among others and also requested if current ODA programs be slightly amended to allow for this technical training to be made available to Fiji on an intensive student exchange program.

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2 AGRICULTURE MINISTRY TO CARRY OUT INVESTIGATIONS IN TAVEUNI

The Ministry of Agriculture will carry out investigations into the purchasing of Dalo in the northern division below the agreed prices set by government.

Following recent media reports, the Ministry?s permanent secretary Ropate Ligariri said that his Ministry has also received reports from dalo farmers in Taveuni who claimed dalo buyers were purchasing dalo at a lower rate.

Mr Ligairi said investigations will begin on Monday by their officers in Taveuni who will then present a report to the Ministry.

Farmers from Taveuni claim that buyers are buying dalo at $1.00 per kilogram when Government had passed the minimum price to be at $1.20.

?I have read the report in the newspapers and the ministry is currently in talks with our officers in Taveuni to see if there is any truth in the complaints from farmers,? he said.

He clarified those buyers caught doing the illegal practise would be dealt with and could even lose their license.

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3 FIJIAN GOVERNMENT RECEIVES NEW EMPLOYMENT OPPURTUNITIES IN THE EMIRATES

The Fijian Government has received new vacancy opportunities in the United Arab Emirates through the Ministry of Labour.

Earlier this month, the Minister for Labour Mr Jone Usamate announced the employment opportunities in the Emirates in the tourism and medical sector.

?Our people have a reputation in hospitality, technical skills, and ability to interact with people. Now we are opening up opportunities for people to work in 5 star and 7 star hotels in a range of occupations,? Mr Usamate said.

The new vacancies are in the communication and retail sector and suitable applicants will need to submit their application details to the Ministry of Labour?s ?Foreign Employment Services? also known as ?FORES?. The Foreign Employment Service (FORES) is located at the National Employment Centre (NEC) and mainly focuses at looking for overseas employment opportunities for Fijians.

?I believe that the quality of our people as such that they will able to compete with the best, we believe with the caliber of our people, the attitude of life, technical skills, communication skills, the mastery of the English language. All of these things will give them a head start,? Minister Usamate said.

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4 MINISTER PUSHES STUDENTS TO WORK HARD

?Make use of the scholarships provided to you to make a difference in your lives, the lives of your family, your community and the nation?.

Those were the words by the Minister for Youth and Sports, Viliame Naupoto as he presented scholarships to 51 students in Nadera today on behalf of the Tulsi Tirath Mandir.

Highlighting his own personal experiences and speaking about his commitment towards his own education, the Minister urged the students to make use of the money provided by the Mandir.

?It is a very emotional moment for me because it?s wonderful to see your faces glowing ? knowing that you will give your best to be the change in your family, society and the nation,? he said.

?I thank the Mandir and those that have pitched in to help these children?.

The Government, these children and their parents cannot thank you (Mandir and the individuals) enough for your gesture. I know that there would be many more such initiatives by the Mandir for our future generation.?

He said the organisation has continued to champion the vision of Government which is to provide the best education to all of Fiji?s children.

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