FIJI NEWS SUMMARY- 28/03/13

Caption: PSPMO Pio Tikoduadua is briefed by Isimeli Waibuta. Photo: MINFO.

1 VUTIA VILLAGE COMMEND GOVERNMENT FOR TIMELY INTERVENTION

Villagers of Vutia in Rewa have commended government for the timely intervention in addressing issues relating to the impact of dredging works.

The intervention follows a visit led by the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister?s Office, Pio Tikoduadua to the village of Laucala and Muana ?i-ra yesterday.

PS Tikoduadua said that the purpose of the visit was to address issues of concern raised by the people of Vutia in damages sustained to their plantation following the dumping of sand and silt near their villages.

??Government is concerned with the impact of dredging in the Rewa delta after receiving complaints from the villagers in Vutia,? Tikoduadua said.

?We have also noted and identified appropriate sites for the relocation of sand and have consulted with the Ministry of Agriculture?s Land and Water Resource Division for the possible construction of flood gates to control the flow of water to and from the villages.

Commending the intervention by the Prime Minister?s office, Chairman of the Muana-i-ra development committee, Iliesa Waibuta said the visit by the PSPMO and his team indicated the concern that they had for the people of Vutia and Fijians in general.

?I am pleased that a government delegation has visited us and heard our pleas of assistance,? Waibuta said.

?While we appreciate the dredging works initiated by government two years ago, we also raised some issues of concern in the dumping of sand on our plantations. However we are happy that the officials have come to see for themselves the damages caused to our plantations.?

Commissioner Eastern, Laisenia Tuitubou said that a team which will be chaired by the deputy secretary in the Prime Minister?s office has been tasked to formulate an action plan to mitigate the impact of dredging works.

?The team has also been tasked to re-look at the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and the situation in this area prior and post to dredging works,? Tuitubou said.

Dredging works were carried out by the China Railway First Group to improve the flow of water in the river systems and minimise flooding in the Rewa delta in 2010.

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2 Cabinet Approves Memorandum Of Understanding Between Republic Of Indonesia And Fiji For Cooperation In The Field Of Small And Medium Enterprises

Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Republic of Indonesia and Republic of Fiji for Cooperation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The MOU covers a relatively new area dealing with the protection of Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (GRTFK), and the rights of the GRTFK holders of both Parties.

Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Attorney ? General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The Attorney ? General said that this MOU will encourage employment generation and rural development.

He said that the MOU is timely as it would also provide tremendous opportunities for both Parties to exchange information on policy initiatives on SME development with special focus on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore usages.

The MOU will also allow for exchange of information on policy initiatives on SME development, facilitate technical cooperation and business cooperation, provide opportunities for access to export market, and provide opportunities for SMEs to participate in technical and managerial skills training.

A Joint Coordinating Committee comprising members responsible for SME from both countries shall be formed to coordinate the implementation of the MOU.

-ends-

3 Cabinet Approves Right Sizing of Fiji?s Nursing Workforce

Cabinet has approved the right sizing of Fiji?s nursing workforce.

This would see a gradual increase in the nursing establishment to improve the nurse to population ratio.

Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Minister for Health, Dr Neil Sharma.

The Minister said that the continuous high and accelerating demand for health services at various facets of Fiji?s population places considerable pressure on the nursing fraternity to ensure that its workforce is in adequate supply to efficiently respond.

He said that the National Nursing Establishment has remained static for the last 15 years which makes it quite ill-responsive to the evolving development in health service and efficient delivery in the country.

He said that in the past three years, the Ministry of Health has continued to make considerable attempts towards right-sizing nursing workforce to provide and deliver quality health services and adequately meet the increasing unmet population health demands and health service needs of the country.

The Minister said that an increased nursing workforce will eventually mean a reduction in overtime, adequate staffing of new health facilities and a general improvement in health service delivery.

He said that Government is committed to improving the health sector, and this is a positive move towards achieving this goal.

4 Cabinet Approves World Meteorological Day Celebrations

Cabinet has approved celebrations for World Meteorological Day.

The celebrations will be held in Nadi on the 12th of April this year.

Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Captain (N) Timoci Lesi Natuva.

The Minister said that the World Meteorological Day is celebrated globally every year on 23 March.

He said that this Day coincides with the coming into being of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as the main international focal point for world meteorological weather watch services, forecasting, climate services and standards.

The Minister said that Fiji as a current member of the Executive Committee of the WMO is also keen to participate in this international celebrations and has decided to celebrate this international event on Friday, 12 April 2013 in Nadi instead of 23rd March.

The Minister further said that the theme of the celebration in Fiji is “Watching the Weather to Protect Life and Property with the subtitle ?Celebrating 50 Years of the World Weather Watch?.

He said that this theme focuses on attention on the crucial role of meteorological services in strengthening safety and the resilience to weather events, and also pays tributes to the World Weather Watch, a foundation programme of the WMO that will mark its fiftieth anniversary in 2013.

The Minister further said that the impact of climate change on Fijians will also be a major component of the celebrations.

Press Release