- DECLARATION MARKS A NEW BEGINNING FOR NAKAILE– ?The?Nakaile village in Tokatoka district, Tailevu yesterday witnessed the unveiling of a monument that will always remind the villagers of their commitment towards protecting women and children.
- UNIT ASSISTS IN LAND UTILISATION-THE utilisation of land deposited under the Land Bank Unit has managed to attract close to three quarter billion dollars? worth of investment.
- NO TURNING BACK FOR PELLET MAKERS-?VANUA Levu Pellets Makers is a family owned thriving business at Vunika in Labasa owned by 70-year-old Ram Pratap and his sons. This family business is the Northern Division?s sole producer of pellets.
- RAKIRAKI TOURISM SECTOR OPENS JOB OPPORTUNITIES?EMPLOYMENT opportunities for more than 1000 Fijians will be created within the tourism and construction sector in the coming months.
1. DECLARATION MARKS A NEW BEGINNING FOR NAKAILE
The Nakaile village in Tokatoka district, Tailevu yesterday witnessed the unveiling of a monument that will always remind the villagers of their commitment towards protecting women and children.
Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni, while unveiling the new billboard said the monument represents the government?s vision of creating a just and equal society for ordinary Fijians.
This event also marked the successful completion of 12 months of awareness programs that has provided Nakaile villagers with information and training programs to stop violence against women and children.
This has been achieved through the implementation of 10 phases of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign, which is spearheaded by the Minister.
Dr Luveni also thanked the male leaders in Nakaile for being the champions of the violence free campaign.
?I must commend the men of Nakaile for changing their attitude towards women and children, this has created unity among men and women as being each-others greatest strength in overcoming the various challenges in life. The awareness programs encourage them to equally share responsibilities in looking after the wellbeing of their families and also to set good examples for their children, Dr Luveni said.
?Strengthened communication in families has also seen children excel in their academic performances. ?We have been made in the image of God, therefore we must learn to respect, appreciate and care for each other to build a truly prosperous nation,? she added.
The Nakaile Women?s Club president Makelesi Leweni spoke highly about the positive changes now felt in their community.
?We have received reports that there are husbands who assist their wives with household chores. This is even noticed during village gatherings-men are willingly assisting women. A support system is now in place, there are dedicated committee members who are readily available to assist women. The gatekeepers committee actively works with police in ensuring that women and children are always protected,? Mrs Makalesi said.
?There are 200 women in this village who are mostly market vendors, they sell fish and are able to earn around $50 per week to support their families. Through our meeting with Dr Luveni?s here today our women?s club had the opportunity to request for Ministry?s assistance to help us buy a deep freezer so that we can store and sell more fish-thereby boosting the income earnings for Nakaile women.?
The village headman Eroni Raseru expressed similar sentiments, ?We praise the government for bringing these programs to our village, for having an open dialogue with us that has opened up new opportunities to uplift the lives of my people. The violence free campaign will continue to be deeply cherished by the people of Nakaile.?
2. UNIT ASSISTS IN LAND UTILISATION
THE utilisation of land deposited under the Land Bank Unit has managed to attract close to three quarter billion dollars? worth of investment.
There were 64 landowning groups who deposited their land leases with the unit and have been successfully rented out to investors who have brought in $730m worth of business to Fiji.
Ministry of Lands and Survey permanent secretary Tevita Boseiwaqa said the Land Use Unit was to facilitate the efficient leasing of land which are idle and unutilised under terms and conditions that are attractive to the landowner and tenant.
?So far we have registered land that comprises 4388 hectares with23 leases issued to 19 investors.
Another 40 Mataqali/Tokatoka?have shown interest in depositing?14,539 hectares.
?We have made payments to landowners as of May this year with the total money paid to the landowners – $4,586,653.15 and Government has received a total of $1,364, 211,? Mr Boseiwaqa said.
?The designation of iTaukei land has drawn in interest from overseas investors with major projects now on designated land valued at $730million.
?Some local investors, who are interested in commercial farming, have approached us to lease such lands where we consult the landowners first before giving the green light to them,? Mr Boseiwaqa said.
All land information with the bank should include, land ownership, locality, topography, soil suitability and other relevant datasets.
?The landowners still have full right to their land and we are here to assist them with the utilisation of their land,? Mr Boseiwaqa said.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has assured those landowners wanting to utilize the services of the Land Use Unit to market their land that there will be no change in land ownership.
?The land ownership system will remain as it is. In other words the ownership of all lands shall not change.? PM Bainimarama said,
- NO TURNING BACK FOR PELLET MAKERS
VANUA Levu Pellets Makers is a family owned thriving business at Vunika in Labasa owned by 70-year-old Ram Pratap and his sons. This family business is the Northern Division?s sole producer of pellets.
This year they were assisted by the Northern Development Programme [NDP] with $25,000 as a security for their loan from the Fiji Development Bank, which enabled them to buy a new wood mizer electric saw worth $80,000.
Mr Pratap?s son, Jitendra Prasad, said the family business started in 2000 with a smaller electric saw.
?Before we were using a small machine but the production was really low so we had to seek assistance from the Forestry Department and they gave us the idea of setting up a mini sawmill to
meet the demand for pellets,? Mr Prasad said.
To buy a bigger machine the family then sought the assistance of the NDP, which gave them a grant of $28,000 to secure a loan of $80,000 from the FDB.
?From that money were able to buy a bigger machine called the wood mizer which cost $120,000 and this has increased our production by nearly 200per cent,? Mr Prasad said.
?We buy rejected logs or waste pine logs from various contractors in Vanua Levu and recycle them into pellets.?
Marketing of their pellets is not a problem. ?We market our pellets to six major companies in Viti Levu namely FMF, Nestle, Paradise Brewery, RC Manu Bhai, Fiji Industries and Standard Concrete,? he said.
Mr Prasad said the above companies usually ordered thousands of pellets every month and with the new machine the business is meeting these demands.
?The selling price for our pellets range from $25 to $30 each. We are producing over a thousand pellets monthly,? Mr Prasad said.
The family business is not only benefiting the economy of the North but is a source of employment to people in neighbouring communities.
?From six workers with the old machine we have increased the number of workers to 11 since the introduction of the new wood mizer machine,? the businessman said.
4. RAKIRAKI TOURISM SECTOR OPENS JOB OPPORTUNITIES
EMPLOYMENT opportunities for more than 1000 Fijians will be created within the tourism and construction sector in the coming months.
This follows confirmation that three new hotels are earmarked for the Rakiraki coast in the Western Division.
In the final stages of planning with a total investment value of more than $20million the hotels are to be constructed along the Volivoli Secular Road in Rakiraki.
This road leads to Wananavu Beach Resort, Nananu ? i ? Ra and Volivoli Beach Resort.
Assistant district officer Rakiraki Pio Loco said one hotel was an investment by a Fijian company worth $5m.
?This is the economic hub of Rakiraki and the opportunity will provide employment opportunities for Fijians over the next 24 to 36 months.?
Tourism statistics reveal that tourist arrivals were around 397,860 in 2002 and in the following 10-year period the arrivals reached 660,590 in 2012 with an annual growth of around 6.3
?Asia, led by China is now emerging as a new vibrant source. China, has been contributing greater share: four per cent in 2012, which is up from zero per cent in 2007,? said Commissioner Western
Commander Joeli Cawaki said ?Fiji needs to be ready for an influx of visitors on the back of a remarkable turnaround in the economy.
However, Fiji is yet to find its true potential and we are certainly in the right direction. ?In line with these developments the Nadi International Airport is undergoing a multimillion dollar facelift to accommodate the demand of increasing visitors each year.
Airports Fiji Limited chairman Faiz Khan said accessibility to Fiji had always been a priority and the increase in space at the largest gateway will certainly boost efficiency.
?Eight airlines now fly to Fiji, compared to two in 2007,? Mr Khan said.
?Aside from air accessibility, the primary factor contributing to growth in tourism is the infrastructure developed over last seven years to underpin government?s focus in better infrastructure and services not only for visitors but also Fijians.
?All of these are due to investor friendly policies pursued by the Government.?