Minister LEAD TALKS WITH NORTHERN RESIDENTS ON CHALLENGES FACED

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Rosy Akbar led senior Government officials to visit communities in the Northern Division as part of efforts to strengthen her Ministry?s assistance programs.

Accompanied by her permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta and the Divisional Commissioner Northern Jovesa Vocea, the Minister spoke with Fijians living in Sikasika and Koromakawa outside Labasa.

The visit provided an opportunity for Fijians living there to speak to the Minister on the challenges faced especially by their children. In particular, the communities requested the Minister to look into making electricity supply easily accessible to them. Mr Mariselo Natui, the village headman for Koromakawa village, told the Minister that apart from electricity supply, the provision of new roads would be welcomed.

?We are grateful to the Minister for visiting our village and seeing for herself the challenges we face. One has to cross the two rivers and drive through rough roads to reach to our community. We have put made our requests to the Government to assist us in accessing electricity and also improving the road conditions.

?Currently there are no bus services in the area and it becomes difficult for communities to travel to the main town. The people of Koromakawa are happy that senior officials visit them today, it demonstrates that Bainimarama government is committed to the development of rural communities,? Mr Natui said.

The Minister for Women said she would look into the challenges faced and liaise with the relevant Government Ministry or agency to assess the requests made.

?The Fijian government?s priority is to improve the lives of those in rural communities and I am sure that today?s discussion will lead to positive developments in Korotari. The Ministry will work together with the relevant authorities to see to ensure that women and children in rural areas are not deprived of the basic services they need,? Minister Akbar said.

Mr Jovesa Vocea, Commissioner Northern, said that appropriate actions would be taken to improve the services in Korotari.

?We will talk to Fiji Roads Authority and get an engineer to do the scoping and this request will be given priority. We will also liaise with the Department of Energy to look into the provision of electricity for the two communities. We have received the necessary documents and will proceed with further scoping to ensure that these communities concerns are addressed accordingly,? Mr Vocea said.

The communities which are both located in Korotari outside Labasa thrive on sugarcane and vegetable farming. During this visit, the communities expressed their gratitude to the Bainimarama government for initiating programs like Social Pension Scheme, Care and Protection Program, Bus Fare Concession, Free Education and the Free milk initiative.

PRESS RELEASE