1. MOU SIGNING TO FORMALISE VLOUNTEER SCHEME TO TUVALAU – Fiji’s acting Prime Minister and Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga today formalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the Fiji Volunteer Scheme for Fijian volunteers serving under the scheme in Tuvalu.
2. FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS CUBA ENVOY – The non-resident ambassador of Cuba to Fiji, Her Excellency Maria Del Carmen Herrera Caseiro made a courtesy call visit to the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola at the Parliament office yesterday.
3. FRAMEWORK WILL GOVERN PACER PLUS TALKS – Fiji’s participation in all the trade negotiations such as the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) will now be governed and guided by the Trade Policy Framework.
4. NEW TRUCKS TO ACCELERATE RURAL DEVELOPMENT – The presentation of new trucks to the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development from the Fiji Roads Authority will accelerate the development of roads in rural and maritime communities.
5. MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND SPORTS HOLDS ANNUAL CORPORATE PLAN WORKSHOP – The Ministry of Youth and Sports staff were reminded of their roles and responsibilities at the ministry’s annual corporate plan workshop.
6. WAIKETE VILLAGERS OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES – Waikete villagers in Tokatoka, Tailevu were today encouraged to focus on issues relating to the inclusion of persons living with disabilities in development.
1. MOU SIGNING TO FORMALISE VLOUNTEER SCHEME TO TUVALU
Fiji’s acting Prime Minister and Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga today formalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the Fiji Volunteer Scheme for Fijian volunteers serving under the scheme in Tuvalu.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted during the signing that Fiji National Volunteer scheme is a great initiative introduced by the Fijian Government in fostering further collaboration with a number of Pacific Island countries (PICs).
“This volunteer scheme has now been implemented with a number of other Pacific island countries. We recently had a group that went up to Marshall islands and of course today we are now formalising a number of volunteers that are already in Tuvalu,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“We want to work with Tuvalu. We have a lot of Fijians capable in terms of up skilling and being able to provide a critical area of services that is of interest to your country.”
Tuvalu’s PM Enele Sopoago commended the Fijian Government for the continuous support in providing capacity building in the areas of human resources and the education sector.
“We have received positive feedback from the schools that Fijian teachers are currently serving under the Fiji Volunteer scheme of the quality of services they( Fijians) have provided,” Mr Sopoago said.
“This signing will formalise an arrangement we believe will help Tuvalu in the development of human resource and education sector.”
Meanwhile, Public Service Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand thanked the government for recognising the importance of this scheme with an increase in budget next year.
“The increase to $1million next year, which is an increase of 150 per cent, marks the significance of the scheme and the interest shown domestically as well as by other Pacific Islands in the region shows the demand for this scheme,” Mr Chand said.
2. FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS CUBA ENVOY
The non-resident ambassador of Cuba to Fiji, Her Excellency Maria Del Carmen Herrera Caseiro made a courtesy call visit to the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola at the Parliament office yesterday.
Their discussions centered on ways of strengthening relations between Fiji and Cuba.
Ms Caseiro also met with the Hon. Minister for Health, Jone Usamate on the issue of medical doctors trained in Cuba.
At present 19 Fijian students are on scholarship in Cuba to be trained as doctors and the first batch is expected to graduate in 2017.
Ratu Inoke, on behalf of the Fijian Government, reaffirmed his commitment to working closely with Ms Caseiro in areas of mutual interest.
3. FRAMEWORK WILL GOVERN PACER PLUS TALKS
Fiji’s participation in all the trade negotiations such as the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) will now be governed and guided by the Trade Policy Framework.
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism permanent secretary, Shaheen Ali said the policy has already been approved by Cabinet and will be launched soon.
He told participants at the Dedicated Workshop On “Product Specific Rules Of Origin” in Suva today that the trade policy will now play a vital role in all trade agreements.
“The Trade Policy Framework will oversee and direct the administration and conduct of our engagement in all bilateral, regional and international trade, with a view to ensure smooth integration of Fiji into the global trading environment,” Mr Ali said.
The framework has had extensive input from all stakeholders including the private sector.
Rules of origin is a component of the PACER Plus negotiations, which Fiji has recently joined.
Mr Ali said this was a conscious decision of the Fijian Government based on the fact that Fiji’s participation will add credibility and purpose to the PACER Plus.
The workshop included local exporters, institutions facilitating exports such as Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority.
Mr Ali encouraged stakeholders to provide their input to the product specific rules of origin as it will be an important component of the trade agreement.
“Rules of origin will enable Fijian businesses and businesses from Australia and New Zealand to benefit from preferential treatment under PACER Plus,” Mr Ali added.
Mr Ali said from the Agreement, Fiji aims to secure better market access, better trading rules, better trade facilitation and fair biosecurity rules to ensure that Fijian-made goods reach the shelves of Australia and New Zealand and other Pacific Island Countries (PICs).
4. NEW TRUCKS TO ACCELERATE RURAL DEVELOPMENT
The presentation of new trucks to the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development from the Fiji Roads Authority will accelerate the development of roads in rural and maritime communities.
Assistant Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Hon. Joeli Cawaki said the eight new trucks will assist in the road upgrades for the rural communities affected during rainy weather and cyclone seasons.
The dual cab tipper trucks will be used on the islands of Kadavu, Koro, Gau, Vanuabalavu, Cicia, Lakeba, Moala and Rotuma to carry out routine maintenance works.
“This is a milestone for the Ministry to provide better service delivery to our maritime communities in terms of road access. Government is committed to the rural and outer islands in terms of repair of roads and mobility of people,” Mr Cawaki said.
Mr Cawaki added that people are relying more on roads for transport which needs to be regularly upgraded.
“We need to upgrade road from the jetty to the village road system and our teams on the island need the right tools and equipment. Some islands have diggers and these trucks will assist in loading gravel to fix pot holes which are a constant problem on the islands,” Mr Cawaki said.
Fiji Roads Authority Maintenance Works manager, Dale Nicholls said the existing vehicles on the islands have reached their life span while some islands hire vehicles for road works.
“These trucks are valuable to the staff of the islands in doing their job and thus the hand-over of 3 tonne brand new trucks will ease road access for the people,” Mr Nicholls said.
The Fiji Roads Authority works closely with the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development to manage the outer island road network.
5. MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND SPORTS HOLDS ANNUAL CORPORATE PLAN WORKSHOP
The Ministry of Youth and Sports staff were reminded of their roles and responsibilities at the ministry’s annual corporate plan workshop.
Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary, Josefa Sania reminded staff of the seven values of the ministry which are passion, perseverance, focus, integrity, ambition, drive and positive attitude.
“We have our roles and responsibilities and the Ministry of Youth and Sports role is to formulate policies and programs in order to empower and provide support and opportunities for our youths,” Mr Sania said.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports is committed to upholding the following values and principles as illustrated in the seven stars as part of the Ministry’s logo which symbolises seven star performance.
“We as ministry staff and head of sections need to inform our various subordinates on the importance of upholding these values in the conduct of our day to day business at the ministry.”
“I would like to remind us all to commit ourselves in upholding the seven star performance of the ministry,” Mr Sania added.
Mr Sania also highlighted the importance of the work of the ministry in that it looked after a significant population of the country.
“I would like to remind us all that our ministry is a very important ministry because we are looking after a big portion of the country’s population.
“We are looking after 35 per cent of the population in Fiji so we have a big role to perform and we need to uphold our seven star performance in order to reach out to youths to deliver the vision and mission of the ministry.”
He said the three day workshop will enable the ministry to revise and assess its performance.
“During the three day workshop, we should be able to revise and look back to assess our performance and put out new targets and new goals for next year in the 2015 annual corporate plan,” Mr Sania added.
6. WAIKETE VILLAGERS OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES
Waikete villagers in Tokatoka, Tailevu were today encouraged to focus on issues relating to the inclusion of persons living with disabilities in development.
Speaking at the International Day of People with Disability celebrations at Waikete village today, Rewa Disabled Persons Organisation president, Litia Naitanoi said it was inspiring to see the villagers get together to support people with disabilities.
Ms Naitanoi, also a community-based inclusive development officer for the Central Division, said people living with disabilities are at times left out in rural and remote areas but today was a special day for them to be included in the village celebrations at Waikete village.
“The celebration is just a means to inform others in our society that people with disability are very important. Sometimes people with disability are left out in accessibility development or individual development but this day serves as a reminder to others to look after and be inclusive of people with disability,” Ms Naitanoi said.
She said because of the various advocacy works carried out by government and civil society organisations across Fiji about persons with disability, people’s mindset was changing.
“We want to encourage others that people with disability have talents, capability and potential to move forward with their support. Villagers are now seeing the value people with disability have in our community and this day also puts out a very important message that people with disability need our support.
“Government is taking into consideration the needs of people with disability. It is looking into accessibility development at community level. It is also good to note that people are realising the challenges faced by people living with disability and are coming up to assist them,” Ms Naitanoi said.
Ms Naitanoi’s message to people with disability is to come out of isolation and move forward in life.
“Sometimes persons with disability look down on themselves but we need to change that. They must look at their ability and not disability. We also need the families to continue supporting those living with disability,” Ms Naitanoi said.
The event at Waikete village was organised in partnership with the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and a non-government organisation,Trumpet Trust.
Trumpet Trust president, Peni Rokoyadre said the main objective of organising the program was to recognise people with disability in their village and encourage the villagers to support them.
The theme for this year’s International Day of People Living with Disability is ‘Sustainable development: the promise of technology’.