CAPTION:?Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni while handing over sewing machines to women’s group in Ra gathered at Naivuvuni village.
1.?PM TO HAND OVER MSG CHAIRMANSHIP TO FLNKS -?Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama would be travelling to New Caledonia next week to attend the 19th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit.
2. GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO PROTECTION OF RURAL MARKET VENDORS?-?Rural women selling produce at the Suva market will soon have better access to ?facilities following the construction of roof covers in uncovered areas.
3.?MINISTER KUBUABOLA MEETS MOROCCAN COUNTERPART?-The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola had an official dinner meeting with the Kingdom of Morocco?s foreign affairs minister, Dr El Otamani in Sydney last night.
4.COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN -?Naivuvuni village in the province of Ra is the latest community to declare support for the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community campaign.
5.?STATE OPENS NEW CENTRE FOR QUICK DISASTER RESPONSE ?-?The newly established National Logistics Cluster Coordination Centre (NLCCC) is testament to Government?s growing commitment and emphasis towards better managing natural disasters.
6. INVESTOR CONFIDENCE APPLAUDED?- Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Barry Whiteside, has applauded private sector?s increased involvement in the economy that has seen investments to gross domestic product (GDP) increase to 25 per cent.
1. PM TO HAND OVER MSG CHAIRMANSHIP TO FLNKS
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama would be travelling to New Caledonia next week to attend the 19th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit.
At the summit, the head of the Government will also hand over MSG chairmanship to hosts, the Front De Lib?ration Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS).
Fiji had taken over the chairmanship of the biggest bloc in the region in 2011 from Vanuatu.
The handing over ceremony will mean the end of Fiji?s leadership in the sub ? regional committee. However its role as the leading country in advancing the interests of Melanesia will continue.
Under Fiji?s leadership, many issues regarding Melanesians were advanced in international conferences.
As part of the group, Melanesian countries Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have consistently lobbied for many issues affecting them including climate change and nuclear testing.
The past year has seen strengthened cooperation within the region in terms of trade and knowledge sharing, movement of skilled labour and strong police cooperation between the countries.
The weeklong summit will see the trade and economic officials meeting, the senior officials meeting and the foreign ministers meeting.
PM Bainimarama will also be a guest at the silver jubilee celebrations of the establishment of MSG in New Caledonia.
PM Bainimarama will be accompanied by the Foreign Affairs minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.
The celebrations in Noumea will conclude Melanesia week which was celebrated in other MSG countries earlier this year.
2. GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO PROTECTION OF RURAL MARKET VENDORS
Rural women selling produce at the Suva market will soon have better access to ?facilities following the construction of roof covers in uncovered areas.
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama while conducting a?talanoa session?with the community in Lomaivuna said the construction of roof covers for the Suva market is aimed to protect market vendors from all weather conditions.
?I would like to reassure you, in particular women market vendors that the construction of roof covers at the Suva market will begin soon,? PM Bainimarama said.
?Market vendors will soon have the comfort of selling their produce under sheltered stalls, protecting them from the rain and the sun.?
Referring to the tender notices this week in the daily newspapers for the provision of shelters at the Suva market, the Prime Minister requested the women of Lomaivuna to bear with government as discussions were already underway for the upgrading of all market facilities.
?Government in its commitment to providing better access to the markets will also continue to upgrade rural roads,? PM Bainimarama said.
Suva City Council special administrator Chandu Umaria said the Suva market roof cover project is expected to cost more than $300,000.
?This project will be completed in the next 8 ? 10 weeks time and the Council will also be constructing the weekend vendors accommodation area by the end of this month,? ?Mr Umaria said.
3.?MINISTER KUBUABOLA MEETS MOROCCAN COUNTERPART?
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola had an official dinner meeting with the Kingdom of Morocco?s foreign affairs minister, Dr. El Otamani in Sydney last night.
The meeting discussed means through which both countries can further enhance their bilateral relations.
Minister Kubuabola thanked Dr Otamani for the 13 Fiji students studying in various universities under the Moroccan government scholarships.
Recalling the first meeting between Morocco and the Pacific States in December last year, Ratu Inoke has requested for a follow-up on the offer of 10 additional scholarships to Fiji.
Furthermore, the Minister has also requested Morocco to consider having annual meetings with Pacific states to discuss other areas of cooperation including that in agriculture, fisheries, mining, environment, tourism and investment.
Ratu Inoke has reaffirmed the Fijian government?s support in working with the Kingdom in areas of common interest at the United Nations and other international forums.
He has also extended his personal invitation to Dr Otamani to attend the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) Meeting in August.
In response, Dr Otamani has expressed his gratitude to the Government of Fiji for its continuous engagement with Morocco and for the invitation to the PIDF meeting.
Dr Otamani welcomed the idea of an annual meeting between Pacific states and Morocco and agreed for it to be held in Fiji.
The dates for the annual meeting is yet to be finalised.
4. COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Naivuvuni village in the province of Ra is the latest community to declare support for the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community campaign.
They also become the 41st community in Fiji and the second village in the province to take this stand against violence.
Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Dr Jiko Luveni who was chief guest at the ceremony acknowledged the village leaders for upholding their commitment for the violence free initiative.
Dr Luveni said the campaign envisions strengthening of family bonding and inculcates greater respect and care for women and children.
?The foundation to creating violence free communities is through having peaceful and happy families. We should make every effort to invest quality time with our families, especially for parents to spend quality time with their children,? she said.
?Naivuvuni has demonstrated that through community support every one can and deserves to live violence free, peaceful lives.?
Naivuvuni village?Turaga-ni-koro,?Mosese Nasovi said through this campaign people have realised that women are important agents of change in their communities.
?We have 300 people in this village, we depend on fishing and farming for daily living. Women are the backbone of our community. Empowering women means empowering our families and our nation,? Mr Nasovi said.
?We are proud of this campaign because it is focused on protecting our women and children from all forms of violence.
?We have received a series of awareness programs and people have learnt that violence is not acceptable and there are laws and legislations that protect women and children,? he added.
Mr Nasovi said the campaign is an eye opener for males in Naivuvuni village and has encouraged them to become good role models, husbands and fathers.
?The change can be witnessed. Families now have certain time allocated on Sundays where they get together and parents take out time to talk to their children,? he said.
?There is a strengthened family bonding and youths are now determined about their future. The campaign has also united the ?villagers and it is strongly supported by the church leaders, youth, women and elderly members.?
Naivuvuni village Soqosoqo Vakamarama president Siteri Rokua said workshops continue to be conducted on awareness and understanding of Domestic Violence Decree, Child Welfare Decree and related laws protecting women and children.
?We also had the opportunity to actively participate in leadership and personal development workshops which empowers us to become better mothers and wives. The campaign empowers us to report domestic violence cases and inform the villagers that violence is not acceptable in any situation,? Ms Rokua said.
?We are grateful to the minister Dr Luveni for addressing the topic on women empowerment.?
5. STATE OPENS NEW CENTRE FOR QUICK DISASTER RESPONSE
The newly established National Logistics Cluster Coordination Centre (NLCCC) is testament to government?s growing commitment and emphasis towards better managing natural disasters.
National Disaster Management director Manasa Tagicakibau said the centre which is responsible for coordinating logistics during natural disasters, will also enable the provision of efficient and cost effective assistance to people affected by natural disasters.
Mr Tagicakibau said the centre will ease operational matters and boost the services of the National Disaster Management Office.
?The centre will enhance predictability, timeliness and efficiency of the logistics response to meet the needs of people affected by ?natural disasters,? Mr Tagicakibau said.
He added that the centre will also ensure that facilitation and distribution of resources during times of disasters will be handled in an accountable manner.
?This center promises various donors and aid agencies more accountability in the assistance give to the people of Fiji,? Mr Tagicakibau said.
Ministry of Finance acting permanent secretary Akosita Drova said the Fijian Government is continuously striving to enhance public sector efficiency, performance effectiveness and service delivery.
?One particular state of affairs that requires immense efficiency is reaching the people affected by a disaster. Therefore, the National Logistics Cluster Coordination Centre is a milestone achievement not only for the Fiji logistics cluster but also to the people of Fiji,? Ms Drova said.
Ms Drova highlighted that a vast input in terms of resources have been given by cluster partners with funding support from Fijian and Australian governments.
Cluster partners include water, sanitation and hygiene, education, health, safety and protection, food security and livelihoods, ?shelter ?and public works and utilities.
The centre which was opened yesterday is located at Walu Bay, Suva at the same building which previously housed the former Government Supplies department.
6. INVESTOR CONFIDENCE APPLAUDED
Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Barry Whiteside, has applauded private sector?s increased involvement in the economy that has seen investments to gross domestic product (GDP) increase to 25 per cent.
Out of this, 13 per cent contribution is from the private sector alone with a marked increase from meagre 3.5 per cent to ?an overall 13.5 per cent investment to GDP in 2010.
?While we know that investment is the ?driver? of growth, it is the private sector that is the recognised ?engine?,? Mr Whiteside said as he launched the Bank of the South Pacific Life?s new ?Bula Elite? product recently.
Mr Whiteside said 2013 projections indicate high growth, led by greater lending by financial institutions for investment purposes as well as strengths in building and construction activities.
Mr Whiteside said the GDP growth for 2013 was 2.7 per cent but an important takeaway is that this development will be broad-based with almost all sectors making positive contributions.
?Look around you when you are travelling through Suva and other areas on Viti Levu, you will see the evidence. Talk to business people and they exude more positive vibes.?
He indicated that the current foreign reserves have been holding steady with $1.62billion and inflation has come down 1.5 per cent at the end of May.
?The challenge moving forward is to keep this positive momentum going- and on Government?s part, to ensure its reform programmes gain ground, and that the deadlines to parliamentary elections continue to be met,? Mr Whiteside said.
Previously, and to a great extent still, Government had been injecting funds into the economy as a stimulus due to the lacklustre response from the private sector towards investment.
However, Government has been creating an investor friendly environment with better amenities and infrastructure leading to increased activities and seeing investment proposals reaching $351 million in the first quarter of 2013 as per figures revealed by Investment Fiji.