- 1. WORK TOWARDS EXCELLENCE: RATU EPELI – Students in the Lau province have been urged by His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to strive for excellence in their studies. The Head of State is currently touring the Lau Group and told students of Adi Maopa High School in Vanuabalavu that excellence in education should be a priority.
- MINISTER KUBUOBOLA RECIEVES EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER – The European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr. Neven Mimica, today paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.
- 46,000 PLUS BENEFIT FROM GOVT?S BUS FARE SUBSIDY – More than 46,000 Fijians including senior citizens and persons with disabilities are benefiting from?government?s bus fare subsidy which was introduced in 2011.
- NEW ENTREPRENEURSHIP OPPORTUNITIES EXPLORED FOR FIJI? – The partnership between the Ministry of Women and Ciputra Foundation in Jakarta, Indonesia will create opportunities for entrepreneurship development in Fiji.
- NABALA GOVERNMENT ROADSHOW READY FOR TOMORROW – More than 5000 people are expected to attend the Government Roadshow at Nabala Secondary School in Naduri, Seaqaqa in the Macuata Province in the Northern Division tomorrow.
- FIJIAN TOURISM EXPO GETS UNDERWAY IN DENARAU – Tourism industry stakeholders in the country will use the next three days to exhibit and promote their products and services to international buyers at the Fijian Tourism Expo (FTE) 2015.
- WORK TOWARDS EXCELLENCE: RATU EPELI
Students in the Lau province have been urged by His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to strive for excellence in their studies.
The Head of State is currently touring the Lau Group and told students of Adi Maopa High School in Vanuabalavu that excellence in education should be a priority.
?Do not just complete your education to find a job, strive for excellence,? Ratu Epeli said.
“Government remains committed towards the education of our children and through this a lot of assistance and resources have been allocated to the education sector,” he said.
“You (students) need to strive towards excellence because it is what will keep you in demand.”
The Fijian Head of State also urged students to market themselves in the global workforce.
“Gone are the days when our students were only looking at the Fijian labour market, opportunities are such that now we have Fijians working in major corporations around the world and that should also be your aim,” HE Ratu Epeli said.
“Excellence will get you there but you need to work very hard.
He added that Fijian students and parents must take full advantage of the various mechanisms put in place towards children’s education.
“You are very lucky with free education from early childhood education, primary and secondary and now those that work hard will have all their tertiary education paid for by government.”
“So work hard and take full advantage of what the government is offering you.”
- MINISTER KUBUOBOLA RECIEVES EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER
The European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr. Neven Mimica, today paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.
Minister Kubuabola expressed appreciation to the EU Commissioner for visiting Fiji and the re-engagement with the European Union through the signing today of the National Indicative Programme by Prime Minister Bainimarama and Commissioner Mimica. The NIP establishes a formal development cooperation arrangement with the EU for the next few years.
Commissioner Mimica was very pleased to be in Fiji and the resumption of development cooperation arrangements between the EU and Fiji. He noted the great progress Fiji has made in terms of political and economic reforms. He added that it was necessary to materialise this partnership in very concrete terms in areas such as agriculture, rural development and public administration.
The Commissioner also extended support to Fiji?s preparations towards the climate change Summit in Paris later this year. Mr. Mimica acknowledged Fiji?s leadership role in the region and encouraged the Fijian Government to continue its advocacy against climate change in the regional and international arena.
As a key development partner in the region, Commissioner Mimica expressed the EU?s interest in the ongoing discussions on the Pacific regional architecture. Minister Kubuabola acknowledged that a lot of work lies ahead in reviewing the regional architecture. He added that the Pacific can learn some valuable lessons from the EU’s regional integration model.
Commissioner Mimica returns to Brussels tomorrow.
- 46,000 PLUS BENEFIT FROM GOVT?S BUS FARE SUBSIDY
More than 46,000 Fijians including senior citizens and persons with disabilities are benefiting from?government?s bus fare subsidy which was introduced in 2011.
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar says the beneficiaries comprise of 44,120 elderly Fijians who are 60 years and above, and 1892 persons living with disabilities.
The Ministry has a budget of $150,000 for this initiative that allows elderly persons to pay half the fare and persons living with disabilities are eligible for free bus fares.
Minister Akbar said that empowering underprivileged persons? particularly senior citizens and persons with disabilities is a top priority for her ministry.
?The Ministry works with?the?Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) to look after the welfare of persons with disabilities. This is done through ensuring that they are given equal opportunities to participate in development programs, accessibility to education, employment, health, communication and transportation services.
?We strongly believe that all women and men with disabilities have fundamental human rights, and that it is an inherent component of economic growth and development. The Ministry through its partnership with Police and the Non-Government Organisations is also addressing issues concerning the mentally challenged who are left on the streets,? Minister Akbar said.
The Department of Social Welfare this year provided a?total of $200,000 as grants to 19 Non-Government?Organisations (NGOs)?that contribute towards the welfare of disabled persons and senior citizens. 12?of these?organisations assisted are affiliated to FNCDP.
Rewa Disabled People?s Association president,?Ms?Litia Naitanui has acknowledged the Government?s support in recognizing the needs of disabled persons. Ms Naitanui has 10 years?experience working as a Community Based Inclusive Development Officer serving in the areas of Naitasiri, Tailevu and Rewa.
?The data collected through my research shows that there are around 500?disabled persons in these provinces. Fifty percent of these are women and most of these individuals face stigma, discrimination and isolation in their homes. There is a need for increased awareness to educate the families and communities to respect and empower disabled persons.
?I have also formed a Rewa Disabled Women?s Group?which was established in2012. It aims to economically empower women with disabilities. There are 30 women in this group who work actively by participating in weekly income generating programs?such as??sewing, baking and making handicrafts. Recently we have been acknowledged by Minister, Madam Rosy Akbar who also shares our vision on empowering?women with disabilities.
?Based on our request the Ministry has donated 3 sewing machines to our group this year?and?we plan to expand our income generating projects. Helping women to become self-reliant and financially independent is a key vision we are working towards with the Ministry,? Ms?Naitanui said.
?We are grateful for programs?such as the?free bus fare scheme and social welfare allowances. We thank the Bainimarama government for its continued support in building an inclusive society for persons with disabilities.
- NEW ENTREPRENEURSHIP OPPORTUNITIES EXPLORED FOR FIJI?
The partnership between the Ministry of Women and Ciputra Foundation in Jakarta, Indonesia will create opportunities for entrepreneurship development in Fiji.
This follows ?an official meeting ?between the Ciputra Foundation Incubator and Accelerator Centre Director, Dr. Ivan Sandjaja and Fiji?s Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia H.E Ratu Tui Cavuilati along with Director Women Mrs Arieta Moceica and Executive Officer Mr Filipe Nayacalevu recently.
Dr. Sandjaja said that Ciputra Universities are not just academic institutions as it also provides practical skills and experience required for operating a business.
?Business is not just about trading or exchange of goods and services. The real enterpreniual businesses are about creating value and to change something that has no value into something that is of higher value. When adding value to a product, it will create opportunities for employment and improve many lives,? he said.
Fijian Ambassador, Ratu Tui Cavuilati said the partnership will broaden economic opportunities for women and also help alleviate poverty in Fiji.
?We acknowledge the Ciputra Foundation for its partnership and we would like to introduce a similar concept in Fiji. We hope to create opportunities for innovations and creativity which has been benchmarked by the Ciputra entrepreneurship,? Ratu Cavuilati said.
The key outcome of this partnership between the Ministry and Ciputra Foundation will enable the establishment of Small and Medium sized Enterprise (SME?s) business opportunities in Fiji.
Ciputra Foundation Incubator and Accelerator is a coordinated centre under the ambit of the Ciputra Business Group, which was established by Dr. Hc. Ir. Ciputra.
- NABALA GOVERNMENT ROADSHOW READY FOR TOMORROW
More than 5000 people are expected to attend the Government Roadshow at Nabala Secondary School in Naduri, Seaqaqa in the Macuata Province in the Northern Division tomorrow.
With the theme ?Empowering Fiji?s Rural Sector? the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Government Roadshow is a two day event.?The main objective of the roadshow is to deliver government services, exhibit and display government products and to also promote career opportunities for students and school leavers.
Commissioner Northern Jovesa Vocea said all government stakeholders and agencies will be showcasing their products and services at their individual booths in order to reach out to the grassroot people.
?We are expecting close to 5000 people during the two day event and the road show location is just 31 kilo-meters from Labasa and 11 kilometers from Seaqaqa,? Mr Vocea said.
Mr Vocea said the chosen location targets 29 villages, 46 settlements and 17 schools around the Nabala Secondary School vicinity which includes the ?three districts of Sasa, Seaqaqa and Macuata.
?We have been carrying out awareness programmes by visiting settlements and have distributed 2500 flyers to 16 schools within the three districts,? Mr Vocea said.
Mr Vocea said bus services will also be provided for the two days roadshow.
?On day one that is tomorrow we will have bus services that will be transporting people from Kadavu to Nabala School ?and Nacereyaga to Nabala Route and day 2 will include Vatudova to Nabala and Vunivere to Nabala route,? Mr Vocea said.
This is the second government roadshow for the Northern Division, the first roadshow was held in Wainikoro last year.
- FIJIAN TOURISM EXPO GETS UNDERWAY IN DENARAU
Tourism industry stakeholders in the country will use the next three days to exhibit and promote their products and services to international buyers at the Fijian Tourism Expo (FTE) 2015.
While officially opening the annual expo at Denarau this morning, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon. Faiyaz Koya said the FTE is the culmination of the Fijian Government?s vision of creating equal opportunity for all Fijians.
Minister Koya said the program is designed to cater for the needs of all service providers, big and small, and effectively promote Fiji as a tourist destination to the world.
He highlighted various efforts by Government to ensure a vibrant tourism industry for Fiji?s bright future.
?As stakeholders in the industry ? as buyers and sellers of the Fijian product – you need to be aware of efforts of the Fijian Government to give you the best, not just in terms of incentives, easy access to land, but also a well-education workforce. The Bainimarama Government has made education free in Fiji and today our literacy rate is over 93 per cent,? Minister Koya said.
?In the next 3-5 years the tourist industry will be able to source workers who have a minimum qualification of high school graduation. There are also opportunities for the employees in the industry to go back and further their qualification.?
Minister Koya stressed the need for every Fijian to make our visitors stay in Fiji a memorable one by providing them the best level of service from the moment they set foot in the country.
A major feature of the FTE 2015 is the Fijian Crafted Village, which is aimed at promoting genuine crafts and creating links with the local crafters.
?The 2014 International Visitors Survey Draft Report, which will be launched by the Ministry in the next few weeks, indicated that visitors are concerned that hotels, resorts and retail outlets are not selling genuine Fijian arts and crafts.
The Fijian Government is working towards addressing this concern, and had launched the Fijian crafted brand in 2012. This is part of the overall Fijian Made-Buy Fijian Campaign that authenticates Fijian Made products. This brand/logo differentiates the authentic Fijian arts and crafts from the imported pass-offs,? Minister Koya highlighted.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism is working with stakeholders to develop the Fijian Tourism Development Plan, which will ensure that all tourism-related agencies and other Governmental agencies work together to create a long-term plan for the Fijian Tourism industry to reach the $2billion mark.
?The Fijian Government has invested significantly in the diversification of our product base and has developed niche markets in areas, such as, professional golf ? Fiji International PGA Tournament, Surfing, international rugby and a well-developed MICE market,? Minister Koya said.
More than 358 exhibitors, 151 international buyers and 18 international media partners ?are participating in the FTE, which comes to an end on Thursday.