MINISTRY OF INFORMATION NEWS SUMMARY

1. HEALTH MINISTRY REMINDS MUNICIPAL COUNCILS TO ASSIST GOVERNMENT IN COMBATTING DENGUE FEVERThe Ministry of Health is urging municipal councils across the country to prioritise Government?s concerns on dengue fever. In the past few weeks, Government has intensified its campaign against Dengue Fever.

2. FIJI?S STATEMENT ON NATIONAL GENDER POLICY – Fiji?s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson, delivered a statement on the Status of Women during the 58th session of the commission in New York this week.

3. MINFO OPENS NEW OFFICE IN NORTH – The Ministry of Information and National Archives of Fiji has established an office in Labasa, Vanua Levu.

4. SOLOMON ISLANDS WELCOME FIJI?S INPUT – The Solomon Islands Police Commissioner, Peter Aoranisaka has welcomed Fiji?s assistance in unifying ?the Melanesian countries police forces through the Regional Police Academy and the Police Co-operation Unit.

5. REACHOUT, EFFICIENCY AND EXCELLENCE HEART OF REFORMS – The necessity to ensure everyone gets to enjoy the benefits of Government?s services, the speed with which such services get delivered and the standard or quality of what we do for ordinary members of the public continues to be at the heart of Civil Service Reforms.

6. WORKMEN?S COMPENSATION PAY OUT – A mother of two was relieved after she received a compensation payout of $10,000 from the Ministry of Labour in Suva today.

7. NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE NOW IN EFFECT – The National Minimum Wage (NMW) of $2 per hour announced by the Government last month came into force on March 1.

8. NAIRAI YOUTHS LAUD EMPOWERMENT OPPORTUNITY – The Ministry of Youth and Sports ended another Seeds of Success (SOS) and Multi-skills Training in Waitoga Village on Nairai Island last Friday.

9. ISLAND YOUTH URGED TO UTILISE RESOURCES – The Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary, Josefa Sania told the youths in Nairai Island that they have to maximise the available and rich resources they have to improve their livelihoods.

10. CRICKET FIJI EMBARKS ON KADAVU OUTREACH – Cricket Fiji?s new development manager, Saiasi Fuli says he is excited about cricket joining the Fiji National Sports Commission?s (FNSC) Sports Outreach Programme. For the first time a delegation will embark on a week-long programme to Kadavu.

1. HEALTH MINISTRY REMINDS MUNICIPAL COUNCILS TO ASSIST GOVERNMENT IN COMBATTING DENGUE FEVER

The Ministry of Health is urging municipal councils across the country to prioritise Government?s concerns on dengue fever.

In the past few weeks, Government has intensified its campaign against Dengue Fever. Through the Ministry of Health, Government has called on every Fijian to take a proactive approach and discard or destroy areas that are likely to breed mosquitoes. At the same time, the health ministry has called on the private sector including municipal councils to assist Government to assist in these efforts.

The Central Board of Health has issued a circular to municipalities directing immediate collection of damaged white goods and rubbish from respective areas.

Rubbish disposals remaining on the roadside are prone to collect stagnant water that can breed mosquitoes. However despite the concerns raised by the Health Ministry, piles of rubbish continue to be seen lying on the roadsides for weeks.

For these reasons the Health Ministry reiterates and calls on municipalities to take immediate responsibility in carting and disposing of rubbish from roadsides to avoid the breeding of mosquitoes.

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2. FIJI?S STATEMENT ON NATIONAL GENDER POLICY

Fiji?s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson, delivered a statement on the Status of Women during the 58th session of the commission in New York this week.

The theme of this year?s session is ?Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls?.

The statement highlighted the National Gender Policy for Fiji that was launched on March 6. It declared this document would serve as policy for mainstreaming gender understandings within all spheres of national life.

The statement explains that the National Gender Policy is designed to improve the quality of life of men, women, boys and girls at all levels of society through the promotion of gender equity.

Ambassador Thomson said empowering women and girls was a fundamental part of Fiji?s developmental aspirations and achievements.

He said it was essential that men and boys took equal ownership of initiatives that targeted women?s equality and empowerment.
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3. MINFO OPENS NEW OFFICE IN NORTH

The Ministry of Information and National Archives of Fiji has established an office in Labasa, Vanua Levu.

The Ministry’s permanent secretary Sharon Smith Johns said the opening of this new office reinforces the Bainimarama Government’s ?Look North? policy and its objective in reaching to Fijians across the country.

?The north as we all know is booming and we want to be there to capture these developments because every Fijian deserves to be part of that process,? Smith Johns said.

She pointed out that recent road developments taking place in the division including the construction of the Nabouwalu ? Dreketi highway are developments that will impact Fijians living there.

?The new Nabouwalu ? Dreketi highway is perhaps one of the biggest projects to be undertaken by Government. Once complete, it will finally bridge the divide for Fijians living there.?

Smith Johns said that opening an office in the Northern Division will position government to understand the progress taking place in this part of the country.

Various developments taking place in the North include the establishment of the new Fiji National University campus in Labasa, the Mini Hydro Project in Somosomo, Taveuni and the relocation of main water pumps that will improve the lives of hundreds of households in the province of Macuata.

The new Ministry office is located at the Macuata House on the outskirts of Labasa Town and houses other government departments and agencies.

 

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4. SOLOMON ISLANDS WELCOME FIJI?S INPUT

The Solomon Islands Police Commissioner Peter Aoranisaka has welcomed Fiji?s assistance in unifying ?the Melanesian countries police forces through the Regional Police Academy and the Police Co-operation Unit.

Mr Aoranisaka said the region was in need of such leadership because of the high demand in human and drug trafficking cases which the region was vulnerable to.

?Solomon Islands is very supportive of the initiatives of the MSG under Fiji?s leadership in information sharing through the PCU and the Regional Police Academy, which will set the platform for even greater awareness and co-operation among MSG countries,? he said.

?We are in need of such co-operation and we are thankful that Fiji provides that and through these initiatives we will be able to curb transitional crimes at our borders.?

Commissioner Aoranisaka is in Nadi attending the 4th MSG Police Commissioners Conference where he ?praised former conference chairman Major General Ioane Naivalurua for looking at the interests of the region through policing, especially community policing.

?We can certainly learn a lot from Fiji and this is evident from its highly successful community policy framework,? Commissioner Aoranisaka said.

?Last year the Fijian police carried our community policing in some of our regions in Guadalcanal and the people were very appreciative and we would like to learn from Fiji and implement a few such policies in the Solomons.?

 

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5. REACHOUT, EFFICIENCY AND EXCELLENCE HEART OF REFORMS


The necessity to ensure everyone gets to enjoy the benefits of government?s services, the speed with which such services get delivered and the standard or quality of what we do for ordinary members of the public continues to be at the heart of Civil Service Reforms.

Public Service Commission permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand said permanent secretaries were empowered under the 2013 Constitution to deal with all matters pertaining to staffing in their respective ministries and departments.

This inter-alia will lead to optimal utilisation of existing human resources under their control as permanent secertaries are able to re-organise and restructure their staffing establishment to bring about improvements in the scope, coverage and standards of service delivery.

Mr Chand said the PSC?s new role was now focused on appointing the most qualified and suitable candidate to the post of permanent secretary in respective ministries, providing them all the support and assistance necessary to complement their efforts in improving their ministry/department?s human resource capabilities and providing the necessary frameworks and environment in which assessments, evaluation and granting of any form of recognition is based on performance.

A lot of consultations and reach-outs are being conducted within the public service to inculcate this new attitude and culture for all round improvements in efficiencies, excellence and service delivery.

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6. WORKMEN?S COMPENSATION PAY OUT

A mother of two was relieved after she received a compensation payout of $10,000 from the Ministry of Labour in Suva today.

Mohini Lata, 43, of Raiwai said her husband, who was an attendant at Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH), passed away while on duty in November 2012.

Ms Lata said the $10,000 compensation cheque was timely and would assist her family in fulfilling their daily needs.

?My elder daughter will be finishing high school this year and I can use this money to send her to University of the South Pacific for further studies. I am not working so this money will greatly benefit my children in their education,? Ms Lata said.

She said the Labour Ministry was helpful in processing the compensation pay out in a timely manner.

Ms Lata?s daughter, Joyce Kavita said she wanted to study agriculture science because there was a huge demand in this area.

While presenting the cheque the Minister for Labour, Jone Usamate said employers must ensure a safe and decent workplace at all times as stipulated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

?Employers must consider that workers are not injured, or pass away due to accidents or unsafe working environment in their workplaces. It is their responsibility to safeguard their workers and must inform us if any possible accidents or death occur,? Mr Usamate said.

Meanwhile, a total of $30,000 was paid out as compensation to three families today.

The deceased were employed in the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF), Fiji Police Force and in the health sector.

Government has set aside $1.5million of workmen?s compensation for civil servants.

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7. NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE NOW IN EFFECT

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) of $2 per hour announced by the Government last month came into force on March 1.

The Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Jone Usamate said the NMW Regulations had been gazetted and all relevant employers must adjust their workers? wage levels and employment conditions to comply with the NMW Regulations and the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007 (ERP).

?The NMW rate of $2 will cover all employers in the informal sector, including employers in the formal sector not covered under the 10 current Wages Regulations Orders (WROs). ?It will benefit a total of at least 72,000 workers,? Mr Usamate said.

?The overarching objective of this major wage policy is to alleviate poverty among the most marginalised workers in the informal and formal sectors. ?It is to build a better Fiji for these workers, who have been disadvantaged and disregarded for a long period of time,? Mr Usamate said.

This historical initiative is in line with Government?s commitment under the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress (PCCPP) on reducing poverty to a negligible level by 2015 while enhancing workplace and national productivity.

Mr Usamate cautions employers not to pay below the NMW ($2 per hour) rate and encourages employers to adopt a productivity-based performance system. ?He said the workers? rights stipulated in the NMW Regulations were in addition to their rights under the Employment Relations Promulgation .

?All entitlements and fundamental principles of rights at work under the ERP are still applicable to all workers covered under the NMW Regulations. ?For example, workers entitlements such as annual leave, public holiday leave, maternity leave, sick leave, bereavement leave and all other benefits provided under the ERP must be fully awarded when due,? Mr Usamate said.

Under the regulations all employers are required to display a written NMW notice in their workplaces for the purpose of informing and educating the workers.

The minister reiterates that on the spot fine of $100 will be issued if employers refuse to follow any part of the NMW Regulations and further penalties will be issued upon breach of the Regulations. ?On conviction, an employer is liable to a fine of $20,000 or two years imprisonment or both.

The ministry in its effort to provide efficient and effective supportive role for the implementation of the NMW has established a Wages Unit which will provide professional secretariat support to the 10 WROs.

Mr Usamate said his ministry would continue to promote the fundamental social justice principles and rights at work with the implementation of the various components of Labour Reforms including the realisation of decent wages, decent conditions and decent work environment that promotes dignity in the workplace for all types of work.

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8. NAIRAI YOUTHS LAUD EMPOWERMENT OPPORTUNITY

The Ministry of Youth and Sports ended another Seeds of Success (SOS) and Multi-skills Training in Waitoga Village on Nairai Island last Friday.

The week-long training began on March 10 and was attended by 27 participants from five villages on the island.

The ministry staff and trainers were accompanied by a reproductive health nurse from Levuka Sub-divisional Hospital and two officials from the Registrar Generals? office in Suva.

Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary, Josefa Sania travelled closed the training and handed certificates to participants.

Members of the community and participants were full of praise for the SOS training and the presence of the Births, Deaths and Marriage (BDM) officials from the Office of the Attorney General.

Nairai district rep and Vutuna villager, Laisiasa Tolevu said the SOS training was indeed timely and they had no doubt it would have an impact on the lives of the young people of Nairai.

?I sat in every night and listened to the powerful sessions of youth empowerment and I can see that the youth are attentive and have slowly gained confidence to actively participate during the sessions,? Mr Tolevu said.

?I am so grateful to the Ministry of Youth and Sports for bringing such training to Nairai and I appeal that more of such trainings to be brought to the rural areas to empower rural dwellers, especially the young people.?

Luke Navunibau of Tovulailai Village was a participant at the training and said the training helped him to know himself and his purpose in life better.

Amenatave Yavala of Natauloa village said, ?I learned about how to manage my time well. I ?request the ministry to conduct this training to all young people in my village, who missed this session.?

Laisiasa Coqe of Vutuna said, ?This training has taught me things I never knew before like the different parts of the outboard engine and their functions. Now I will ensure I will maintain the small engines we have and can also fix them when they break down.?

Births, Deaths and Marriage Registry official Kini Yalimaiwai said they managed to register 44 new and late births registration and seven renewed their registrations.

Maleli Cika of Waitoga Village said the presence of BDM officials was of great assistance to then because p[reviously they had to come all the way to Suva and wait in long queues to get registered.

Staff nurse Tokasa Muakisuva of Levuka Sub-divisional Hospital said she went to all the five villages and two primary schools on the island to speak on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexual health.

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9. ISLAND YOUTH URGED TO UTILISE RESOURCES

Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary, Josefa Sania told the youths in Nairai Island that they have to maximise the available and rich resources they have to improve their livelihoods.

Mr Sania was at Waitoga Vllage in Nairai recently where he closed a week-long Seeds of Success and multi-skills training programme. A total of 27 participants attended the training.

Mr Sania told the youth in Nairai, that their island was rich, full of natural resources and could be utilised for their benefit.

?Your island looks rich and wealthy and you have to learn to appreciate and utilise what?s available for your benefit,? Mr Sania said.

?You have to appreciate your natural resources. Learn to begin small and work hard for it to grow into bigger and better things.?

It is the intention of Government and the ministry to evenly distribute developments and trainings, especially for youth in outer islands.

?The ministry has identified trainings to suit ?rural and remote places like Nairai. Training targeted to meet your needs and help improve your livelihoods and trainings to sustain you in your everyday lives,? the permanent secretary said.

?Such training as the small engine repairs suits such maritime islands and the ministry is dedicated to reaching and enriching young people in remote places throughout Fiji this year.?

While presenting their isevusevu to the permanent secretary the youth spokesman Maleli Cika said: ?The vanua is grateful that such training was brought to them with accompanying government agencies to assist the community in their need.?

?Though we are not so rich and fortunate, such training and assistance from Government will go a long way in transforming our lives.?

Participants received their certificates form Mr Sania after completing a week-long Seeds of Success and small engine repair training. He also handed sports equipment to the five youth clubs on the island.

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10. CRICKET FIJI EMBARKS ON KADAVU OUTREACH


Cricket Fiji?s new development manager, Saiasi Fuli says he is excited about cricket joining the Fiji National Sports Commission?s (FNSC) Sports Outreach Programme.

For the first time a delegation will embark on a week-long programme to Kadavu.

The aim of the programme is to travel into rural areas of Fiji and introduce sports ? many of which might not have even been heard of before ? to youth groups.

The FNSC sends out two development officers from each sporting organisation to teach our youth the basics of their respective sports. ?The FNSC usually holds approximately half a dozen of these sports outreach trips a year.

?It?s a good opportunity for us to go and spread the gospel of cricket,? Mr Fuli said.

?What?s even better for us is that we have managed to run a kids cricket programme in Kadavu at the same time as the Sports Outreach Programme with the youth groups.?

Cricket Fiji will be sending three senior development officers – Joeli Mateyawa, Iniasi Cakacaka and Kitione Tavo. ? to Kadavu, along with the delegation of officials from the FNSC and other development officers from fellow Fiji sporting organisations.

Whie in Kadavu, one development officer will be based with the main group working on the Sports Outreach Programme with youth, while the two others will run a kids cricket programme, aimed at getting school-aged children involved in cricket as a part of their regular curriculum.

?We are lucky that we will be able to run two programmes at the same time ? and we will be the only sport to do so,? Mr Fuli said.

?I hope Cricket Fiji can grow so popular on the southern Fiji island that a team from Kadavu can join in some of the competitions held on Viti Levu next year.

?We hope the kids cricket programme in schools is popular, so Kadavu can enter teams in the primary and secondary school competitions.?

Fuli said that Cricket Fiji hoped to reach between 10 and 12 primary and secondary schools during their week tour of Kadavu.

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MINFO