MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 20/03/14 4:30PM

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1.?KOREA CONTINUES ITS ASSISTANCE WITH LONG TERM SCHOLARSHIP –In terms of capacity development, the Korean Government will continue its assistance in the provision of long term scholarship under the Master?s degree programme to the Fijian Government.

2.?LABORATORY TO STRENGTHEN THE AGRICUTRUAL SECTOR -?Fiji requires an inclusive development framework for its agriculture economy to move forward by addressing new domestic challenges in line with food security, climate change adaptation, disaster risk and resilience and the rehabilitation of export industries.

3.?LABOUR MEDIATION SETTLEMENT RATE SURPASSES INTERNATIONAL RATING -?Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, Jone Usamate says the Fiji Labour Mediation Service settlement rate has surpassed the international rating of 75 per cent by 80 per cent last year.

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1.?KOREA CONTINUES ITS ASSISTANCE WITH LONG TERM SCHOLARSHIP

In terms of capacity development, the Korean Government will continue its assistance in the provision of long term scholarship under the Master?s degree programme to the Fijian Government.

This will foster human resource development and capacity building of its workforce in the service.

The offers are open to government officials and employees of the public sector including statutory bodies. ?They are given the opportunity to further their education in Korea from 2014/2015.

A total of 24 scholarships are available at the prominent universities in Korea.

The scholarships cover the areas of International Trade, Economic Policy, Food Security & Agriculture, Capacity Building of Women Leaders, Global Health & Development, Development Competency, ICT, Finance, Management & Public Administration, Fisheries Science, e Policy and eGovernment, and Sports Science.

Applicants must be under 45 years of age, have a minimum of five (5) years? experience in the public sector and are officially recommended by the respective permanent secretary. They must possess undergraduate/postgraduate certificate/diploma degree or its equivalent, not be under any bonding obligation, have a good command of english and be physically and mentally fit.

Successful applicants will be entitled to the payment of his/her tuition fees, a monthly allowance, accommodation, text book and materials, insurance cover and return economy airfare.

Details of the scholarship, admission into the programmes, and closing date for submitting applications for respective programs can be obtained from the following link:?http://www.psc.gov.fj/index.php/35-scholarship-new/715-y2014-2015-koica-scholarships-awards-master-s-degree-programmes

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2.?LABORATORY TO STRENGTHEN THE AGRICUTRUAL SECTOR


Fiji requires an inclusive development framework for its agriculture economy to move forward by addressing new domestic challenges in line with food security, climate change adaptation, disaster risk and resilience and the rehabilitation of export industries.

This was relayed by the Minister for Agriculture, Inia Seruiratu while commissioning the new culture tissue laboratory at Koronivia Research Station in Nausori today.

?This laboratory in Fiji is a step forward in the direction towards our 2020 Agriculture Development Agenda and this technology is where plants are cultured under sterile controlled laboratory conditions,? Mr Seruiratu said.

?The plant tissues, mainly the growing points of plants, are exposed to a specific regime of nutrients and hormones to produce many new plants. Each a clone of the original mother plant, over a very short period of time.?

This technology can eliminate certain pests and diseases and assists with conservation of Fiji?s important and unique staple crops and tree genetic resources through plant tissue culture.

?This technology is internationally recognised as a safe way for transfer of plants across borders and is being used by the commercial factor for mass production of selected crop species,? Mr Seruiratu said.

Meanwhile, Secretariat of the Pacific Community co-ordinator for the Generic Resources team, Valerie Tuia said this launch marked another milestone, in partnership of the Ministry of Agriculture, SPC and AusAID.

?During floods in Fiji, the agriculture sector is always destroyed and after the assessment of disasters, the need to have ready source of planting materials for food crops after major disasters was identified,? Mrs Tuia said.

?This facility is vital in ensuring there are sufficient planting materials available at all time for farmers to access after any disaster.?

The Fijian Government provided $115,754 towards the building, while $100,000 was provided by AusAID and SPC provided for the sourcing of equipment, consumables, glassware, nurseries and laboratory personal with technical training.

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3.?LABOUR MEDIATION SETTLEMENT RATE SURPASSES INTERNATIONAL RATING

Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, Jone Usamate says the Fiji Labour Mediation Service settlement rate has surpassed the international rating of 75 per cent by 80 per cent last year.

The minister highlighted this is a remarkable achievement for Fiji and the South Pacific as well when benchmarked internationally.

?Our Mediation Service has been performing strongly since its establishment in 2007 under the reformed Employment Relations Promulgations 2007,? Mr Usamate said.

?From the 80 per cent settlement rate, the remaining 20 per cent of unresolved cases were referred to the Employment Relations Tribunal for third party adjudication.?

Minister Usamate said about 70 per cent of the employment sector were not represented by union and these non-unionized workers access mediation service free of charge to seek redress for their grievance arising out of unfair dismissal, disadvantaged, discrimination, sexual harassment and cases of duress.

?Last year alone, a monetary value of about $1million was recovered, which brings the cumulative figure to more than $4million since its inception were paid out to workers in terms of settlements,? the minister said.
?The Mediation Services this year embark upon recording non-monetary gains in the form of reinstatement that has not been accounted for in the last years.?

Through these successful settlements and payouts to workers, the ministry has contributed to alleviating poverty for needy workers as committed under Pillar 8 of the People?s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress (PCCPP).

The minister appeals to all workers to make use of the free service provided by the Mediation Service in stabilizing the labour market, resolving potential strikes, and heal impaired employment relationships whilst promoting social justice and at the same time to boosting productivity level.

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