MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 4:00PM 20/06/13

CAPTION: CEO of Fiji Water Mr Rokoseru Nabalarua with Ms Litia Mawi and Mr Frederick Muller of Marshall Islands.

1.?PM BAINIMARAMA URGES MSG LEADERS TO BE PROUD OF ACHIEVEMENTS -?Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has urged MSG leaders gathered at the 19th MSG Leaders Summit to be proud of their achievements as a group in its short and impressive 25 year history.

2.?UNIVERSITIES FORM COMMITTEE FOR ACCREDITATION OF UNIVERSITY QUALIFICATIONS -?Government?s investment in higher education is a key factor in the successful implementation of its social and economic policies says the Minister for Education Filipe Bole.

3.?GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE MAKES GARMENT AND TEXTILE SECTOR RESILIENT -?The Fijian Government today gave a $100,000 marketing boost to the ?Make it in Fiji? campaign by the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Council.

4.?INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT TO BOOST THE NORTHERN ECONOMY -?Developments in infrastructure has seen an increase in investments in the Northern Division. Divisional Commissioner Northern, Ilai Moceica said Northern Division will soon see residential and industrial developments in its rural areas.

5.?FIJI WATER ASSISTANCE TIMELY FOR MARSHALL ISLAND -?Fijian Government roving ambassador to the Pacific island countries, Mrs Litia Mawi today received two container loads of bottled water donated by world renown bottling company Fiji Water, which will assist the drought stricken Northern Atolls in the Marshall Islands.

1.?PM BAINIMARAMA URGES MSG LEADERS TO BE PROUD OF ACHIEVEMENTS

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has urged MSG leaders gathered at the 19th MSG Leaders Summit to be proud of their achievements as a group in its short and impressive 25 year history.

Last night in Noumea as Prime Minister Bainimarama paid tribute to the accomplishments of the regional group, he also officially handed over chairmanship of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanake et Socialiste (FLNKS).

?For a quarter-century, the MSG has provided an opportune forum for our nations to forge closer political, economic and social ties, to search for areas of common interest, and to find ways to mutually improve the lives of our peoples,? he said.

PM Bainimarama attributed the accomplishment of significant achievements to the strong support from all member nations.

?We are turning over the chairmanship of an organization that has grown stronger, that has carved out a firmer regional and international presence, and that has a clearer vision and road map for the future,? he added.

He highlighted that trade between MSG member nations was progressing well and there was re-affirmed commitment to ensuring the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital.

PM Bainimarama said advancements on a number of other fronts have been achieved in the areas of customs cooperation, biosecurity, fisheries and cultural preservation among MSG countries.

The head of government reaffirmed his confidence in handing over the chairmanship of the MSG to its new chair.

?I am confident that we will be in very good hands as the MSG chairmanship passes to Front de Liberation Nationale Kanake et Socialiste (FLNKS) of Kanaky or New Caledonia,? PM Bainimarama said.

PM Bainimarama also extended his gratitude to the regional and international partners of MSG for their support and generosity during his chairmanship.

He also extended his gratitude to the regional and international partners of the MSG for their support and generosity during two year leadership of the group.

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2.?UNIVERSITIES FORM COMMITTEE FOR ACCREDITATION OF UNIVERSITY QUALIFICATIONS

Government?s investment in higher education is a key factor in the successful implementation of its social and economic policies says the Minister for Education Filipe Bole.

Mr Bole made these comments at the inauguration of the Committee for the Accreditation of University Qualifications (CAUQ) in Suva today.

He said the CAUQ is evidence of the growth of a trusting relationship between the three major universities, the University of the South Pacific (USP), Fiji National University (FNU) and University of Fiji (UOF) and the Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC).

The minister said commitments expressed by the universities and the commission will go a long way in maintaining academic standards that are internationally respected and recognised.

?Being the leading education providers in the nation, our three universities play a key role in ensuring access, equity and quality in the provision of higher education and training for our people,? Mr Bole said.

?The committee will be responsible for assuring the quality of academic programmes offered in the university sector. In doing so, it will ensure the quality of every university qualification for which Government funding is sought. In this way, government can be assured of the judicious use of public funds allocated for university education.?

The CAUQ would be a significant instrument in ensuring that consideration of quality and relevance is made in the allocation of funding for programmes and institutions.

Mr Bole said the new education initiative would greatly enhance the overall efficacy and effectiveness of the higher education sector in Fiji.

?It has demonstrated a sincere desire, on their part, to lift academic standards at the university level, ensure the prudent use of public expenditure in the university sector, and bring about consistency in the award of qualifications,? Mr Bole added.

He said the committee would address other related academic matters, and provide appropriate advice to the FHEC.

?This will ensure that university education in Fiji is relevant, to both individual needs and the skills and knowledge needs of the nation.?

The Committee will be chaired by academic, Dr John Harre.

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3.?GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE MAKES GARMENT AND TEXTILE SECTOR RESILIENT

The Fijian Government today gave a $100,000 marketing boost to the ?Make it in Fiji? campaign by the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Council.

Council president Kalpesh Solanki said through the assistance given to the industry?s marketing strategy, they were able to increase sales by $10-12million and provide employment to five hundred more people in the last three years.

Ministry of Industry and Trade permanent secretary, Shaheen Ali said the TCF industry has been growing despite highly challenging competitive international markets.

?This marketing support fund will help them- re-organise, become more durable and flexible in the face of pending global challenges,? Mr Ali said.

The Government has committed $300,000 to the industry with $100,000 released annually to assist the council in promoting itself in the United States and European markets through participation in road-shows and trade exhibitions to create awareness.

?One of the hallmarks of the Bainimarama Government is that we have consistent policies to support our businesses and our private sector,? Mr Ali said.

Mr Solanki said, ?It?s not getting any easier and as pointed out, we are facing very stiff competition from the Asian low cost, very high volume producers so we have to position ourselves to high value and niche products and that requires fairly active and high profile marketing.?

Another support given by the Fijian Government to the industry in penetrating into the Melanesian Spearhead Group market is now bearing positive results.

Mr Solanki said in an effort to explore secondary markets to traditional ones such as Australia and New Zealand, a strong contingent accompanied Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to Papua New Guinea earlier this year.

?This meeting was successful as a few of the TCF members have started doing business in PNG,? Mr Solanki added.

Mr Ali said the MSG was becoming very important with significant developments seen in the last two years.

?The gains we have made in bringing the MSG economies together and marching towards the single market economic union can really benefit the economies of MSG countries and also our various sectors including garments,? Mr Ali said.

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4.?INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT TO BOOST THE NORTHERN ECONOMY

Developments in infrastructure has seen an increase in investments in the Northern Division. Divisional Commissioner Northern, Ilai Moceica said Northern Division will soon see residential and industrial developments in its rural areas.

?We want to engage our community leaders in government roadmap in ensuring that we build a better Fiji for all that will contribute to the development of the Northern Division in terms of infrastructure, roads, access to basic necessities and education,? Mr Mocieca said.

?Supportive communities provide Government the opportunity to prepare a plan for its growing corridors which are subjected to urban developments.?

Mr Moceica said three provinces including Bua, Cakaudrove and Macuata have been assisted under Government’s self help projects in the first quarter of the year with a funding of close to?$137,000.

?Six projects in Bua were provided a funding of $44,462. Cakaudrove also implemented six projects with close to?$51,699 funding while Macuata implemented four projects costing?$40,843,” Mr Moceica said.

He added that the projects included agricultural farming, livestock farming, bee farming and other small income generating projects to sustain livelihoods for rural dwellers.

Mr Moceica said the long term objective of Government was to enhance the livelihoods of people in rural areas and outer islands of Vanua Levu.

?We need to increase market access opportunities and services that will enable beneficiaries in the rural areas and outer islands to exploit those opportunities to improve their livelihoods,? Mr Moceica said.

“Through these projects, we are looking at accelerated economic recovery, food and income security, poverty alleviation and sustainable management of natural resources.

 

“With the developments currently being witnessed, we are optimistic of creating more opportunities for investors in the North,” Mr Moceica said.

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5.?FIJI WATER ASSISTANCE TIMELY FOR MARSHALL ISLAND

Fijian Government roving ambassador to the Pacific island countries, Mrs Litia Mawi today received two container loads of bottled water donated by world renown bottling company Fiji Water, which will assist the drought stricken Northern Atolls in the Marshall Islands.

The bottled water donation will be handed to the Marshall Islands, which had declared a state of disaster on its Northern atolls in May this year.

Ms Mawi, while accepting the donation worth over $50,000, said the Fijian Government sincerely appreciates the generous donation from Fiji to the Marshall Islands to satisfy water needs of close to five thousand people.

?It is Fiji?s way of contributing to the Pacific?s spirit of collective self-reliance as an engine of growth in the spirit of South to South cooperation,? Ms Mawi said.

?It is Fiji?s hand of partnership to a fellow Pacific island in response to natural disasters and a definite show of public private partnership.?

Fiji Water chief executive officer Rokoseru Nabalarua, while handing over the donation said it was a great honour for the company to donate water to those who really need it.

?It is a great honour and privilege for Fiji Water to be able to donate 2 container loads of Fiji Water to the Republic of the Marshall Islands because this is a way Government and private sector can help our neighbours who are in need of one of the necessities of life,? Mr Nabalarua said.

The Republic of the Marshall Island Ambassador to Fiji, Fredrick Muller while receiving the donation on behalf of his government said the water donation was a timely one.

?As many of you know President Loeak has declared a state of disaster for the Northern Atolls of the Marshall Islands which is home to six thousand citizens, due to a severe drought on May 9th 2013,? Mr Muller said.

?This much needed donation of Fiji Water from the Fiji Water Foundation ?will greatly lessen the gap for drinking water.?

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