1.?FIJIAN PRESIDENT VISITS FIJI EMBASSY IN SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA –His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau paid an official visit to the Fiji Embassy in Seoul, South Korea.
2.?PRIME MINISTER CONCLUDES ROTUMA TOUR -?Prime Minister Rear Admiral Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama today ended his three-day visit of Rotuma.
3.?NEW HOSPITAL FOR ROTUMA -?Construction works on the new hospital in Rotuma will begin soon.
4.?GOVERNMENT TO RELOOK TRADE WITH TUVALU -?Government will relook into the trade agreement between Rotuma and Tuvalu.
5.?FIJI COMMISSIONS AMBASSADOR-DESIGNATE TO SWITZERLAND -?Former High Court Judge, Justice Nazhat Shameem was formally commissioned today as the first permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organisations based in Geneva.
6.?NEW TECHNOLOGY TO BOOST RENEWABLE ENERGY EFFORTS?-?Renewable energy alternatives and improvements in energy security through the introduction of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) can positively impact Fiji and the Pacific region?s economies.
7.?FIJI VOLUNTEER SCHEME TO INCLUDE YOUTHS -?The Fiji Volunteer Scheme (FVS) is developing a program that will soon provide greater opportunities for youth to get involved in areas of topical interest.
8.?$10M FREE EDUCATION GRANT FOR TERM TWO -?The Ministry of Education has so far distributed close to $10million to schools for term two as part of government?s free education grant.
9.?NASOLO GEARS UP FOR VIOLENCE FREE INITIATIVE -?Nasolo village in Nailaga district, Ba has become the latest beneficiary of Government?s program on creating violence free communities in Fiji.
10.?FNPF/FRCA JOINT ID CARDS -?Members of the public, who do not have a joint FNPF/TIN card, will get an opportunity to get one at the Government Service Centre (GSC) in Nausori this Saturday 17th?May, 2014.
1.?FIJIAN PRESIDENT VISITS FIJI EMBASSY IN SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau paid an official visit to the Fiji Embassy in Seoul, South Korea.
H.E is leading a delegation to the Middle East and Africa to visit troops serving with?United Nations peacekeeping missions overseas.?H.E is accompanied by the Minister for Defence, Joketani Cokanasiga.
During a brief stop in Seoul, H.E visited the Fiji Embassy which was established in July, 2012 and took the?opportunity to update embassy staff and officials on the various developments taking place in Fiji. This included an update on the preparation for the General Elections which is scheduled for September 17th, 2014.
Fiji’s Ambassador to Korea, Filimoni Kau gave a presentation to the Fijian delegation on the work carried out by the Embassy. This included an update on the various areas that have potential to strengthen the Fiji-Korea relations.
Tourism Fiji regional director in Seoul, Daisy Park briefed the delegation on the work carried out by the Fijian tourism marketing agency which included the new processes identified to draw more tourists not only from Korea but also from other Asian countries to visit Fiji. Ms Park said the new direct flights between Fiji and Seoul positioned Fiji to attract more tourists from Asia.
The Fijian President will leave later this week for the United Arab Emirates, where he will meet Fijian diplomats working at the embassy in Abu Dhabi.
2.?PRIME MINISTER CONCLUDES ROTUMA TOUR
Prime Minister Rear Admiral Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama today ended his three-day visit of Rotuma.
Accompanied by officials from various Government Ministries, the Prime Minister held talanoa sessions with the people of the seven districts on the island, discussing development plans.
The Prime Minister told the people of Rotuma that his government has been working closely with the Rotuma Council on a new Rotuma Decree and Rotuma Lands Decree that will safeguard and preserve their land and culture.
PM Bainimarama said that while the unique traditions, language and land of the indigenous Rotuman people have been recognised in the Fijian Constitution, the two proposed legislations will ensure Rotumans will be able to resolve any issues regarding land.
Rotuma Council advisor Jioji Konrote said Rotuma has never before witnessed as much development as it has, with the Bainimarama Government.
?While other Governments have helped in the development of our island home, the Bainimarama Government has singlehandedly done the most in meeting development needs of the 2000 people who continue to live in Rotuma – in terms of infrastructure development, the provision of services to the island and assisting in raising the overall standard of living,? Mr Konrote said.
Rotuma Council chairman Tarterani Rigamoto said the people were pleased with the visit, adding they are confident the assistance provided by Government will continue over the years.
?We are appreciative over the assistance Government has directed towards the development of Rotuma over the last few years and we know this Government will continue to help the people here in Rotuma to improve the standard of living,? Mr Rigamoto said.
?We are grateful for the free education initiative by Government this year especially for those attending tertiary instutions as this means more Rotumans will be able to have access to higher education.?
The Prime Minister assured the people of Rotuma that the assistance that has been directed towards them over the years will continue.
?It is the role of Government to ensure that all Fijians have access to the same services regardless of where they live in Fiji.?
?Government will do all it can so that all those who live on the island of Rotuma will be able to access the same services and have the same things as those Fijians living in urban areas.?
3.?NEW HOSPITAL FOR ROTUMA
Construction works on the new hospital in Rotuma will begin soon.
This was confirmed by Prime Minister Rear Admiral Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama to the people of the island during discussions today.
The construction works on the hospital is expected to be completed within a timeframe of two to three months.
Prime Minister Bainimarama said funding for the hospital, which would have modern facilities to assist the staff and people of Rotuma, was allocated in the 2014 National Budget.
A team from the Ministry of Works is now inspecting the new site for the hospital.
4.?GOVERNMENT TO RELOOK TRADE WITH TUVALU
Government will relook into the trade agreement between Rotuma and Tuvalu.
This was confirmed by Prime Minister Rear Admiral Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama during his discussions with people of island.
Rear Admiral Bainimarama was told the last shipment to Tuvalu was 13 months ago and there was a need to build upon and strengthen the trade between Tuvalu and Rotuma.
Prime Minister Bainimarama said Government would continue to support and improve the livelihoods of people in the maritime islands.
The Rotuma Council advisor Major General George Konrote highlighted that discussions on furthering trade with Kiribati has been considered.
5.?FIJI COMMISSIONS AMBASSADOR-DESIGNATE TO SWITZERLAND
Former High Court Judge, Justice Nazhat Shameem was formally commissioned today as the first permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organisations based in Geneva.
Mrs Shameem will be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Switzerland. Her role will be in two folds; to represent Fiji in all the United Nations organisations in Geneva and as Ambassador-designate to Switzerland, which is a first for Fiji.
During the event, Mrs Shameem expressed gratitude of the Fijian Government and highlighted the importance of UN to Fiji.
?Fiji as a member of the UN is growing and will work by its rules and regulations. I am proud to represent Fiji at the international stage and Geneva is an important platform for Fiji,? Mrs Shameem said.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, Amena Yauvoli said the Ambassador-designate would depart for Geneva, Switzerland later this month while Fiji?s Mission in Geneva would officially open in June.
?Fiji has 30 international organisations based in Geneva apart from the UN. Fiji will look after its obligations and undertake its commitments and enable us to do better being present there,? Mr Yauvoli said.
Mrs Shameem?s appointment is for a term of three years.
The commissioning ceremony was witnessed by the acting President of Fiji, Justice William Calanchini.
6.?NEW TECHNOLOGY TO BOOST RENEWABLE ENERGY EFFORTS
Renewable energy alternatives and improvements in energy security through the introduction of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) can positively impact Fiji and the Pacific region?s economies.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Public Utilities (Water, Energy) Works and Transport Timoci Natuva during a presentation today on Sustainable Utilisation of Ocean Thermal Energy in the South Pacific Region.
?This (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) will enhance our initiatives of Green and Blue Economy concept, which was introduced during the inaugural summit of Pacific Island Development Forum in August last year,? Mr Natuva said.
?The OTEC has other uses apart from power production including desalination, air conditioning for hotels, aquaculture, agriculture hydrogen production and mineral extraction such as lithium and so forth.?
He added the Ocean Thermal Energy (OTEC) with its success will bring vast array of benefits for humankind, especially the potential for improved energy access to the Pacific islands.
?It will mean better access to clean drinking water, better food preservation, improved access to medical treatment, better education and build resilience for our people during these difficult times,? Mr Natuva said.
Korean Ambassador to Fiji His Excellency Kim Seong-in said ocean thermal energy was one of the new renewable energy sources and this workshop would boost regional countries capacity in utilising thermal energy.
?In the view of promoting Climate Change Adaptation and Green Energy, this energy has great potential in meeting the needs of electricity, water food in the Pacific Island countries and its eco-friendly natures,? Mr Seong-in said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs director (Climate Change Division) Dr Mahendra Kumar said work still needed to be done in the areas of climate change.
?However, the implementation of the OTEC device will be an alternative for renewable energy,? Dr Kumar said.
7.?FIJI VOLUNTEER SCHEME TO INCLUDE YOUTHS
The Fiji Volunteer Scheme (FVS) is developing a program that will soon provide greater opportunities for youth to get involved in areas of topical interest.
Public Service permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand said the scheme is an initiative by government to reform the management of employment creation services in Fiji and will soon be diversified to involve more young people who can contribute towards national development.
?Fiji Volunteer Scheme is going on very well and there are so many youth out there who can contribute under the scheme towards national development,? Mr Chand said.
?It is meant to introduce young people to opportunities to create a sense of national pride and a stepping stone into the workforce as well ?as sustainable livelihood.?
Mr Chand highlighted that the FVS has largely attracted retired teachers in the regional countries.
?The demand is from the Pacific Island Countries seeking experienced teachers from Fiji to help with their education sector and Pacific needs.
?We are happy to help them and we have had teachers in Marshall Islands, Nauru, Vanuatu and another group now due to go to Tuvalu in the next few weeks,? Mr Chand added.
The FVS has a budgetary allocation of $1million this year.
8.?$10M FREE EDUCATION GRANT FOR TERM TWO
The Ministry of Education has so far distributed close to $10million to schools for term two as part of government?s free education grant.
The grant has been released to around 563 schools upon the submission of their audited financial report of 2013, the minutes of the annual general meeting and recommendation from the monitoring team.
All schools were required to submit their 2013 financial report by the end of this month.
Some schools also sought assistance from the Ministry of Education to furnish their financial reports.
The ministry?s Monitoring and Evaluation teams visited schools at the beginning and the end of 1st term for guidance and monitoring of their financial reports.
Meanwhile, 170 secondary schools received $10.5m while 732 primary schools received $11.4m in free education grant last term, amounting to $22million.
9.?NASOLO GEARS UP FOR VIOLENCE FREE INITIATIVE
Nasolo village in Nailaga district, Ba has become the latest beneficiary of Government?s program on creating violence free communities in Fiji.
Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni visited Nasolo village on Tuesday this week and presented a certificate of commitment to the gatekeepers committee that has recently been formed. This event marked the beginning of 10 months awareness programs that would be facilitated by Fiji Police and the Ministry of Women.
Nasolo village is among 69 communities that have joined the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign.
During the launch, Dr Luveni said positive results have been achieved in communities that have joined this campaign.
?The fact that this community has joined the campaign shows that they do have lot of challenges and this is the step towards trying to make things right. The success is measured through the reports received from Police, it shows reduction in the maltreatment of women and also reduction in crime rates,? Dr Luveni said.
She highlighted that another key component of the campaign was economic empowerment of women whereby women?s groups are assisted to start their income generating projects.
?We have seen that communities that are violence free are driven towards economic empowerment programs as well. In August this year, the Ministry will host a women?s and children?s summit which will see the gathering of all the gatekeepers committee from the declared communities to share their experiences, address the challenges and also map the way forward in strengthening the network developed through this campaign,? Dr Luveni said.
Nasolo Women?s Club president, Mrs Losalini Taufa Ratoto said lack of awareness could be one of the reasons that women have suffered in silence over the years.
?There are 70 women among the population of 300 in this community who look after the daily needs of their families. There have been cases of family disputes that has led to divorce and broken families. We understand that though we cannot change the past but we can learn from it and take appropriate measures to address issues which affect women and children,? Mrs Ratoto said.
?With consultation with the police, we have formed a crime prevention committee that will work actively to facilitate the awareness and training programs. Through this campaign women will be challenged to overcome their fear and take action by reporting the violence or any discrimination committed against them.?
She said that through the financial assistance of $4000 provided by the Ministry, their club has also started a poultry project this year.
?The Nasolo Women?s Club has developed a three year plan and through the Ministry?s support these women have set up a poultry project, this will boost our income generating. Through the violence free campaign, we will be able to access information to make ourselves more resourceful for our families and contribute effectively towards the development of this village.
We are truly grateful to the Minister Dr Jiko Luveni for being the first women?s leader to visit us and her speech has motivated us to work together to become agents of change in our community,? Mrs Ratoto said.
Nasolo village headman, Mr Joeli Waqa thanked Government for assistance provided to improve the lives of his people.
?We are grateful to the Government for opening up this new opportunity to create an informed society that is well empowered to fight its own battle. As the leader of this community I am proud to say that today we have embarked on a new initiative that will enable us to make informed decisions and also treasure family as our greatest treasure,? Mr Waqa added.
10.?FNPF/FRCA JOINT ID CARDS
Members of the public, who do not have a joint FNPF/TIN card, will get an opportunity to get one at the Government Service Centre (GSC) in Nausori this Saturday 17th?May, 2014.
Commissioner Central, Laisenia Tuitubou said a team from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) will be at GSC Nausori from9:00am?to 1:00pm for TIN registration and process applications for FNPF/FRCA joint ID card.
?Nausori residents will get a chance to get their joint FNPF/TIN cards done and only those who do not have an FNPF number, can obtain their TIN Numbers at the GSC Nausori,? Mr Tuitubou said.
?Members of the public are required to bring along their original Birth Certificates with them for registration and Marriage Certificate is required for women who are currently using their married name. This is a face to face registration. We urge people to make use of the opportunity provided as this is a means of bringing services to their doorstep.?
To obtain a joint ID card, applicants are required to:
Have an FNPF and TIN number.
Provide current FNPF Membership Card.
If no FNPF Card, then provide one of the following:
Passport, Driver?s License, Electronic Voter Registration (EVR) Card or any other form of photo ID.
Government Service Centre?is located at Shop 6, Hemron Plaza, Dunstan Street in Nausori.