MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 13/09/13 4:30PM

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1.?GOVERNMENT COMMENDS LOCAL BUSINESSES: FRIENDS, PURE FIJI?-?Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Mr Jone Usamate today publicly acknowledged the hard yards put in by FRIENDS and Pure Fiji in venturing into the paper making business.

2.?WESTERN DIVISION KIDNEY PATIENTS GET DIALYSIS EQUIPMENT?– Kidney patients in the Western Division can now expect faster dialysis treatment at the Lautoka Hospital after the hospital received new dialysis equipment from the Beecroft Rotary of Sydney.

3.?SMALL CLAIMS TRIBUNAL SERVICES LAUNCHED IN NASINU?-?Residents of Nasinu will now have easier access when lodging their small claims after the launch of the Small Claims Tribunal at the Nasinu Magistrates Court in Valelevu today.

4.?VALUE ADDING OF FOREST RESOURCE A PRIORITY?-?The Department of Forestry is now prioritising the value adding of Fiji?s logs by producing quality products such as furniture and household ornaments from waste wood.

5.?GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGES SEAWEED FARMING TO MEET MARKET DEMAND?-?Government, through the Department of Fisheries is prioritizing production of seaweed to meet demands from the Chinese market.

6.?FNCDP APPLAUDS FIJI?S NEW CONSTITUTION??-?The Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) has welcomed Fiji?s new Constitution, which became effective last Saturday.

 

7.?PLANS IN PROGRESS TO DEVELOP RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION FOR DISABLED PERSONS?Government in partnership with the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) has embarked on plans to build proper residential accommodation for disabled persons.

 

8.?WELFARE MINISTRY TACKLES CHILD TRAFFICKING AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION?? -?The Fijian Government has firmed up on its partnership with relevant stakeholders to prevent and suppress child trafficking and sexual exploitation of children in Fiji.

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1.?GOVERNMENT COMMENDS LOCAL BUSINESSES: FRIENDS, PURE FIJI

Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Mr Jone Usamate today publicly acknowledged the hard yards put in by FRIENDS and Pure Fiji in venturing into the paper making business.

Mr Usamate made the acknowledgement while opening the Topex (Top Executive) Conference at the Intercontinental Golf and Spa Resort at Natadola this morning.

The Topex Conference is a conference for employers in the civil and private sectors and is an event that employers look forward to every year.

It is a forum for top executives in both the public and private sector to meet, learn new things, establish new relationships and reflect on the past year.

Mr Usamate said he was particularly impressed by the initiative by both organisations in working with local communities to make paper.

?It is important for businesses to be innovative rather than focusing on profit making,? Mr Usamate said.

?Inclusive business integrates low-income people into their value chain. I hope that more of such initiatives can be put into place. It is not enough to just have growth?we must have growth that is inclusive. We must have growth that impacts on the lives of many people in Fiji. Not just on the lives of a few.?

The meeting this year has reconvened after a lapse last year, which has received wide appreciation from local business houses.

Mr Usamate has urged businesses to consider partnering with Government?s National Employment Centre (NEC) programme to contribute towards poverty reduction.

?One of the hallmarks of our labour market at the moment is the large group of young, well educated youth who do not have employment at present and one of the ways we are addressing this is through NEC,? Mr Usamate said.

?One of the important roles of the NEC is to partner with organisations in Fiji to take on these young unemployed on attachments to grow their skills and to give them work experience. We try to meet half the cost of their $60 per week allowances, but it has limited funds for this.

?I invite you all to consider being part of this scheme?and to consider also meeting the full $60 per week allowance on your own, so that even more young unemployed can participate,? he added.

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2.?WESTERN DIVISION?KIDNEY PATIENTS GET DIALYSIS EQUIPMENT

Kidney patients in the Western Division can now expect faster dialysis treatment at the Lautoka Hospital after the hospital received new dialysis equipment from the Beecroft Rotary of Sydney.

The launch of haemodialysis equipment yesterday would supplement five other machines that are already based out of the largest hospital in the western division.

Lautoka Hospital Services deputy secretary, Dr Metuisela Tuicakau while receiving the equipment on behalf of the Ministry of Health, reiterated the concept of wellness in the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

?As Fiji embraces the concept of wellness in prevention of non ? communicable diseases, we must not forget that we already have hundreds of patients out there acquiring the complications such as stroke eye complications, renal failures among others,? Dr Tuicakau said.

?Managing and treating these complications is a crisis on its own with demand on resources such as skilled people, equipment, drugs and consumables and bed availability for inpatients care.?

On behalf of the Government, ?Dr Tuicakau thanked the Rotary Club of Sydney for understanding the Fiji situation and auctioning the need to have dialysis machines in Lautoka hospital to alleviate the suffering of Fijian patients with renal failures.

The machines will be placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for in patients with acute renal complications where the machine plays a crucial role in reversing the disease course.

Dr Tuicakau reminded the staff of the hospital to take ownership of the equipment to ensure that the proper guidelines and processes are followed during its operations.

?Take ownership set standards and proper well articulated guidelines and protocols are followed and make sure that our patients receive the maximum benefit from these machines,? Dr Tuicakau said.

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3.?SMALL CLAIMS TRIBUNAL SERVICES LAUNCHED IN NASINU

Residents of Nasinu will now have easier access when lodging their small claims after the launch of the Small Claims Tribunal at the Nasinu Magistrates Court in Valelevu today.

Speaking at the launch, Chief Justice Anthony Gates said the Small Claims Tribunal in Nasinu will ensure that people do not travel to Nausori or Suva to get access to these services.

The Small Claims Tribunal provides a quick, informal and cost-effective method for deciding claims up to $5000.

Justice Gates has called on people to lodge a claim only when they are ready.

He added that the purpose of the Small Claims Tribunal is to ensure referees deal with small claim matters in an efficient and swift manner.

?We want the claimants to come to some arrangement and quick solutions as we do not want matters to drag on for years. I?ve urged referees to dismiss claims if people are not ready and tell them to come back and re-file when they are. This will avoid wastage of time,? ?Justice Gates said.

Justice Gates highlighted that the first process in resolving claims is through mediation so that issues are sorted instantly.

Justice Gates said claimants must decide what they really want from the claims filed.

?A good thing about mediation is that if you are able to resolve the matter there and then, there is much less scarring and wounding of your relationship with the other side,? ?he added.

?We want good relationships in the community and that will be much more profitable for everybody,? Justice Gates said.

He said procedures of the Small Claims Tribunal are simple because no lawyers are allowed to argue claims.

Justice Gates said with the increased demand for judicial services, future plans include building a substantial court in Nasinu as well as establishing a High Court in the area.

There are Small Claims Tribunals in Suva, Navua, Nausori, Korovou, Rakiraki, Tavua, Ba, Nadi, Sigatoka, Savusavu, Taveuni and Levuka.

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4.?VALUE ADDING OF FOREST RESOURCE A PRIORITY

The Department of Forestry is now prioritising the value adding of Fiji?s logs by producing quality products such as furniture and household ornaments from waste wood.

Ministry of Fisheries and Forests permanent secretary Mr Inoke Wainiqolo said through government?s annual budgetary allocation of $150,000, the department is producing high quality products.

?Now that we actually maximising the use of waste wood by processing high value and high quality products, we could compete with alternative timber imported products,? Mr Wainiqolo said.

?Our waste wood products are of high quality and has been attracting crowds every year to our tent at agricultural shows,? he added.

Mr Waniqolo said they were teaching representatives of resource owners in Fiji on how to create high quality products such as furniture from waste logs.

?The project is targeted at resource owners to improve their technical and entrepreneurial skills especially for launching a small business within the forest sector through value adding,? Mr Wainiqolo said.

?People can come and find out for themselves at our Forestry Timber Training Centre in Nasinu the various high quality products that can be formed from waste wood.?

Mr Wainiqolo said they have been conducting awareness workshops and shows around Fiji to tell resources owners about this very economical alternative which puts ?waste logs to better use.

?We are also training interested landowners with some knowledge of cabinet making at our Forestry Timber Training Centre in Nasinu ,? Mr Wainiqolo said.

Mr Wainiqolo highlighted?that some of Fiji?s forests takes 40 years to mature and after logging the waste pieces decompose on the ground.

?We are telling resource owners that they can get more money by producing high quality products from these waste woods in their logged forests,? he added.

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5.?GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGES SEAWEED FARMING TO MEET MARKET DEMAND

Government, through the Department of Fisheries is prioritizing production of seaweed to meet demands from the Chinese market.

Ministry of Fisheries and Forests permanent secretary Mr Inoke Wainiqolo said the Chinese market needed 300 metric tonnes of local seaweed a month.

?Our export target is to produce 250 tonnes of seaweed by 2014 that is why we are increasing awareness of seaweed production and?our technical officers have been busy assisting interested fisheries owners in setting up their seaweed farms all around Fiji?,? Mr Wainiqolo said.

Mr Wainiqolo said they are also increasing their awareness campaign on seaweed farming around Fiji.

?We have conducted several workshops with seaweed farmers in the Central, Western and Northern Division this year,? Mr Wainiqolo said.

He said they are also present in all Provincial meetings to advise the various provinces on seaweed farming.

?We also instruct villagers on how to manage their seaweed farm and even help them in the marketing of their first harvest,? Mr Wainiqolo said.

Mr Wainiqolo said seaweed farming is increasing in Fiji which can be seen in villages around Fiji.

?I know that seaweed is farmed in Nagigi, Nacavanadi, Lakeba, Mali Dromuninuku, Tacilevu, Nakobo, Kavewa, Druadrua, Navunievu and Tavulomo in Vanua Levu. In Lomaiviti seven villages are concentrating on seaweed farming, while there are also farms in Tailevu, Rewa and Kadavu,? Mr Wainiqolo said.

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6.?FNCDP APPLAUDS FIJI?S NEW CONSTITUTION

The Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) has welcomed Fiji?s new Constitution, which became effective last Saturday.

FNCDP executive director Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa reiterated that the new Constitution promotes inclusivity and equality for the persons living with disabilities in Fiji.

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The Council commends the new Constitution. It very well incorporates the rights and interests of the persons living with disabilities. The Constitution recognizes the rights of disabled persons to access the required services and it also promotes their right to effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. Fiji has become signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as of June 2, 2010.

?Recognition at this highest level will be powerful in creating barrier free environment for the persons living with disability. The Council has also embarked on the review of FNCDP Act 1994 and completion of the draft Decree on Disability that will further streamline the legislative framework to create visibility for disabled persons in Fiji,? Dr Yanuyanutawa added.

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7.?PLANS IN PROGRESS TO DEVELOP RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION FOR DISABLED PERSONS

Government in partnership with the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) has embarked on plans to build proper residential accommodation for disabled persons.

FNCDP executive director Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa said the residential accommodation is a much needed facility for disabled persons.

He said that there are some disabled persons who are neglected by their families and are deprived of the basic needs like food and shelter.

?The Council has seen that some of the disabled persons do not have a proper place to stay and it being the reason, some of them end up on the streets and some are even used for street begging. Given the plight of the disabled persons, the Council has prepared a concept paper on building residential accommodation in Fiji and we are working with the line Ministry,? Dr Yanuyanutawa?said.

?The Council and Ministry of Social Welfare will be working together with relevant stakeholders namely Suva City Council, Ministry of Lands and Housing Authority to decide on the way forward to build this much awaited facility in Fiji.?

He said the plan is to build three residential accommodations, one each in the Central, Western and Northern divisions.

?As outlined in the concept paper, we are planning to build one for Western Division that will be located near to Ba Mission Hospital, for Northern Division we are working with Ministry of Land to identify the project site in Labasa and for Central Division, we hope to build one right next to the FNCDP Complex in Suva,? Dr Yanuyanutawa said.

?The Council and the Social Welfare Ministry will be talking to some of the donor agencies and stakeholders to work on the way forward to build these facilities.?

Ministry of Social Welfare permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta reiterated that the recent review of FNCDP Act 1994 and completion of the draft Decree on Disability will streamline the legislative framework, thereby promoting the rights and interests of disabled persons in Fiji.

?This legislative framework captures on the needs and aspirations of persons living with disabilities and it also empowers Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons to conduct proper monitoring and evaluation process to mainstream disability into Fiji?s development processes. It will recognize the needs of persons with disabilities, enabling them to exercise their right to live dignified lives,? Dr Koroivueta added.

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8.?SOCIAL WELFARE MINISTRY TACKLES CHILD TRAFFICKING AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION??

The Fijian Government has firmed up on its partnership with relevant stakeholders to prevent and suppress child trafficking and sexual exploitation of children in Fiji.

In line with this commitment, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation has provided a grant of $10,000 to a Non-Government Organisation providing residential care to victims of child trafficking and also creates awareness in communities on ways to protect children from human trafficking and organised crimes.

A Memorandum of Agreement was signed today between the Ministry of Social Welfare and Homes of Hope to support the joint collaboration in the area of child protection.

Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said consolidated efforts are required to address issues like child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

?The Ministry is working in partnership with NGO?s and Civil Society Organizations such as the Homes of Hope and Save the Children Fund (Fiji) and other stakeholders in the community to help curtail this emerging social ill in our society.

?The Ministry is calling on all the relevant stakeholders to work collaboratively in addressing the issues of child trafficking. The strengthened networks with the NGO?s like Homes of Home enables information sharing and resources to effectively reach out to communities in ensuring that children are protected from serious crimes like child trafficking and sexual exploitation,? Dr Koroivueta reiterated.

Safety Net Project coordinator Mrs Lynn Roche said the government grant of ?$10,000 would assist the Homes of Hope to buy food items for 25 young girls who stay at the residential campus in Wailoku, Suva.

?Residential campus works with women and children who have been victims of forced sex, they are provided with residential care for up to three years and it covers all of their basic needs. The girls are given opportunities to take up formal and vocational training. They can stay at the residential campus for three years then they exit and we monitor their progress for up to six months to two years,? Mrs Roche said.

?The Safety Net Project is geared to combat human trafficking in communities and provide rehabilitation to girls under the age of 18 years who have been victims of child trafficking and sexual exploitation. ?We have referrals from local hospitals, Fiji Police and social welfare, women?s crisis centre and our team goes out to the communities.?

Mrs Roche said the objective of the project is to help girls heal from the trauma of forced sex and help them live independent lives.

?We see that over the years, the number of children being affected by child trafficking has increased and we believe that the main reasons may be because of broken families and poverty. We are grateful to the Ministry of Social Welfare for its partnership as it will enable us to reach out to many more communities through awareness programs,? Mrs Roche said.

The Homes of Hope was established in 1996 by a group of local business people with a vision to stop the stigmas and cycles of forced sex with women and children.

The main office is based in Suva and the organisation also works with regional countries like Solomon Islands.

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