- PRIME MINISTER HOLD TALKS WITH SENIOR AMERICAN ENVOY TO THE PACIFIC –The Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama today received the American?Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel.
- NEW SOFTWARE TO IMPROVE AUDIT PROCESS OF PUBLIC FUNDS– The acquisition of a new automated audit management system will improve the auditing processes carried out at the Ministry of Finance.
- PUBLIC ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND WOMEN?S CRAFT DISPLAY IN SUVA– The public has been invited to attend to attend the biggest craft show that will be held in the nation?s capital and will feature art and craft from women living in the Central Division.
- AGRICULTURE POTENTIAL IN REGION– There is real potential for agro tourism in the Pacific region especially in Fiji where the tourism sector continues to advance in agro-based menus.
- MINISTER NORTHERN CRIME PREVENTION CARNIVAL – The week-long Northern Crime Prevention Carnival has raised the profile of the community partnership with the Fiji Police Force.
- MINISTER KUMAR LOOKS INTO NEW LTA SITE – A suitable site for the Land Transport Authority Office in Labasa in the Northern Division is being looked into by the Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment and Infrastructure and Transport Hon. Parveen Kumar.
- PRIME MINISTER HOLD TALKS WITH SENIOR AMERICAN ENVOY TO THE PACIFIC?
The Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama today received the American?Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel.
In welcoming Mr Russel to Fiji, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of the Fiji-USA relations.
Mr Russel thanked the Prime Minister for allowing the opportunity to meet with him and at the same time congratulated the Prime Minister on his appointment following the 2014 General Election.
He also commended the manner in which the elections was carried out.
Prior to his appointment as Assistant Secretary on July 12, 2013, Mr. Russel served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Asian Affairs. According to the American Embassy in Suva, during Mr Russel?s tenure, he helped formulate President Obama?s strategic rebalance to the Asia Pacific Region, including efforts to strengthen alliances, deepen U.S. engagement with multilateral organizations, and expand cooperation with emerging powers in the region.
- NEW SOFTWARE TO IMPROVE AUDIT PROCESS OF PUBLIC FUNDS
The acquisition of a new automated audit management system will improve the auditing processes carried out at the Ministry of Finance.
Today the Ministry of Finance permanent secretary, Mr Filimone Waqabaca signed a grant agreement with the New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Mark Ramsden. Under the agreement, New Zealand will fund the purchasing, set-up and maintenance of the audit management software called ?Team Mate? which is designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of internal audits undertaken by the Ministry of Finance.
At the signing, Mr Waqabaca said the new computer-based software would streamline the Ministry?s auditing processes and bring it in line with international standards.
?The software is not only beneficial to our Ministry but to the whole country in terms of faster auditing processes. The current system used is partly manual however, the new software will be fully automated and will be a handy tool for internal auditing with greater volume and speed,? Waqabaca said.
He added that through reforms and changes in the auditing processes, the new software would elevate standards of auditing processes to international compliance and address recurring auditing issues.
?There are a few institutions in the country that have acquired the software such as the Office of the Auditor General and we are grateful for the support from the New Zealand Government.?
High Commissioner Ramsden said the grant, approximately $620,000, will be ued for the purchase of specialised audit software, upgrade associated hardware and support the salaries of two new technical staff to help implement the system over the next two years.
?We anticipate the new internal audit system will ultimately contribute to better control of public funds and resources and improve governance and risk management across the whole of Government,? HE Ramsden said.
PS Waqabaca said the Ministry would commence preparatory work from August this year.
- PUBLIC ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND WOMEN?S CRAFT DISPLAY IN SUVA
The public has been invited to attend to attend the biggest craft show that will be held in the nation?s capital and will feature art and craft from women living in the Central Division.
The central women?s craft show has been organised by the Ministry of Women at the Civic Centre in Suva from Wednesday 22nd to Thursday 23rd July 2015.
More than 800 women groups from Tailevu, Rewa, Naitasiri, Namosi, Serua, Beqa, Navua and those living in the Nausori to Suva corridor have registered and are preparing to showcase their skills and talents at the two-day craft show. The Divisional craft shows are built up events to the National Women?s Expo which will be held at the Vodafone Arena, Suva from 14 to 16 October, 2015.
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar, says the event will provide marketing opportunities for the women especially those living in rural communities.
?The divisional craft shows are organised by the Ministry in partnership with the Fiji Arts Council, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and sponsors including Westpac Bank. The west craft show held in Shirley Park last week saw more than 500 women showcasing their talents and selling their products?.
?Those with the finest quality products will have the opportunity to further market their skills at the National Women?s Expo. We want to see women get the best value for their hard work and initiative. Creativity, originality are some of the qualities the judges will pay attention to when making the selection of products for the Expo,? Minister Akbar said.
The Minister added that such events, the Ministry can identify women groups to assist them further to become successful entrepreneurs.
?The National Women?s Expo is a platform for women to be economically empowered to uplift the lives of their families. Women have great potentials to earn income and alleviate poverty in their homes and communities. It is in recognition of their talents, the Ministry has organised crafts shows throughout the 4 divisions to help them utilize their maximum potential.
?To all the women in central division, please start preparing for the next month?s craft show to be held in Suva.? I look forward to seeing you there and we will support you throughout the Expo.
The dates and venues for the upcoming Divisional Craft Shows 2015 are as follows:
-? Thursday 2nd of July at Nawaikama Village, Sawaieke, Gau Island for the women from Gau, Nairai, Batiki.
-? Thursday 9th July, at Nabouwalu, women from Bua and northern division will participate in this show.
-? Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd July at Civic Centre in Suva, will see the participation of women from Tailevu, Rewa, Naitasiri, Namosi, Serua, Beqa, Navua and those living along Suva corridors to?participate in the Central Division Craft show.
- AGRICULTURE POTENTIAL IN REGION
There is real potential for agro tourism in the Pacific region especially in Fiji where the tourism sector continues to advance in agro-based menus.
Those were the words of the?Secretariat of the Pacific Community?director Land Use Division?Dr Ken Cokanasiga?at the opening of the Pacific Community Agriculture – Tourism Conference which is currently underway in Nadi, Fiji.
?We are here to discuss and make new partnerships towards achieving our goals as a region which is hugely reliance on agriculture and tourism,? he said.
?There is a real potential for our produce to be available as world class menus and not only is this for our five ? star resorts but also other restaurants which will be explored in the next five ? days with our chefs from the region who are working on ensuring better presentation of our foods on plates.?
Dr Cokanasiga added that Fiji, as a leader in tourism, continues to explore ways to enhance agricultural development alongside tourism development.
Delegation of the European Union?s Head of Operations Mr Renato Mele also shared similar sentiments says Fiji was not only a producer but also was becoming a major market for the region.
?Fiji?s agricultural import is still high, and this means that there is a real potential for the pacific farmers as Fiji is now a market for agriculture,? Mr Mele said.
The Fijian Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is also exploring reducing its agricultural import bill through research and the implementation and reintroduction of produces such as potato, pawpaw, watermelon and other fruits while at the same time reducing duty of imported fruits and vegetables.
- MINISTER NORTHERN CRIME PREVENTION CARNIVAL
The week-long Northern Crime Prevention Carnival has raised the profile of the community partnership with the Fiji Police Force.
This was highlighted over the weekend by the Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment, Infrastructure and Transport Hon. Parveen Kumar while closing the carnival in the Northern Division.
?The friendly North should be a crime-free North and we must know that it is only through the police and the partnership of the people that we can prevent crime,? Minister Kumar said.
Minister Kumar urged parents and children to take a pledge in ensuring that all males in families are instructed and taught both by words and deeds to respect women at all times.
?We all have a part to play in preventing crime and it should begin at home.?
Minister Kumar said community based crime prevention programs includes those that operate within the community to work with government to address issues contributing to crime.
?Everyone must be encouraged to play a role to identify problems and finding solutions to problems in your own communities,? Minister Kumar said.
He said for this reason such carnivals deserves support from every Fijian as government continues to increase budget each year in-order to address crime.
?We have invested heavily this year to have the technology to help the police force solve crimes, coordinate their efforts, fight international crime and keep people safe.?
He said government effort must be taken to another level but will only move forward through the support of the people.
Meanwhile, the carnival saw the participation of eight queens, six kings, three turagas, four teens and five princesses and more than $96,000 was raised at the event.
- MINISTER KUMAR LOOKS INTO NEW LTA SITE
A suitable site for the Land Transport Authority Office in Labasa in the Northern Division is being looked into by the Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment and Infrastructure and Transport Hon. Parveen Kumar.
Minister Kumar who now holds the portfolio of Minister for Infrastructure and Transport was in Labasa over the weekend said that a new site would need to be looked into as the original plan to build the LTA office at its old site was not a suitable location.
?The former site is not closer to town and we want LTA services to be accessible to all members of the public,? Minister Kumar said.
Minister Kumar said at the moment they are looking at the Naiyaca site but would however confirm later hence works in the old site for a new office is on hold.
?We are looking into relocating the LTA office to Naiyaca but at the same time have not stopped looking at other areas closer to town as the current location of the LTA office is far from town,? Minister Kumar said.
?Until plans are submitted to us then we can work out the cost and the land area that we want and we do need an ample space for the office?.
Meanwhile, Minister Kumar has also given assurance that the Bulileka Bridge in Boca, Labasa can be accessed by this weekend.
?I did meet with members of the community in the area discussing about the bridge and I have requested them to have patience,? Minister Kumar said.
He said that the beams of the bridge needed to be replaced and this would be done soon.
?The cost of the beams cost is around $170,000 and this will be brought in from Viti Levu next week, the current beam is made of steel and the base of the bridge is good but we will replace all the beams with stronger ones as safety is also an important issue that we will look into,? Minister Kumar added.