NEW DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR RABI COMMUNITY
For years, residents of the Banaban community in Rabi have always been deprived of accessing more economic opportunities and other income generating projects.
However through the direction of the Prime Minister’s Office, the community is now expected to benefit through new and various income generating projects that will be carried out this year.
The Office’s Development Cooperation and Facilitation Division deputy secretary Naipote Katonitabua says the completion of the Rabi jetty and a soon to be installed ice plant will now boost socio-economic development for the Banaban Community.
“We will be liaising closely with the Provincial Administrator Cakaudrove, the Rabi Council of leaders and village committees on the socio-economic development of Rabi,” he said.
“The Office of the Prime Minister administers the “Rabi Subvention Fund” which is valued at $105,000.”
Mr Katonitabua also added that for the last three years, the DCFD office has worked closely with the Rabi Island Council in upgrading their water systems through the provision of piping materials and water tanks to villages, settlements and schools.
“We are also funding other income generating projects such as fibreglass boats and outboard engines, we also funded the refurbishment of RCL Guest House, renovation of Rabi Community Hall and the provision of a proper sound system for the community”.
In 2012, the DCFD office funded hardware materials for the construction of ablution blocks for two primary schools and teachers quarters at Rabi High School.
A separate allocation for development projects this year for Rabi Island is totalled at $67,000.
AMBASSADOR TIKOTIKOCA PRESENTS CREDENTIALS IN TIMOR LESTE
Fiji’s non-resident envoy to Papua New Guinea Romanu Tikotikoca, has presented his credentials as Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji to the President of Timor-Leste, His Excellency President Taur Matan Ruak at the Presidential Palace Nicolau Lobato in Dili.
At the presentation ceremony, Ambassador Tikotikoca conveyed the warm greetings and sincere best wishes of His Excellency the President and the people of Fiji to the President and people of Timor- Leste.
He stated that Fiji and Timor-Leste has strong association through Fiji’s servicemen who were part of the United Nations transitional authority from its inception.
“Since establishment of diplomatic relations in 2003, relations between the two countries have grown and flourished”, Ambassador Tikotikoca said.
Ambassador Tikotikoca also conveyed the appreciation of the Government and People of Fiji for the understanding and support of Government and People of Timor- Leste during the transitional period Fiji was going through. He assured the President that the current constitutional process confirms Fiji’s commitment to the achievement of fundamental reforms of democratic and government institutions in Fiji and that the close interaction between the two countries provides the opportunity to work together not only for the mutual benefits but also for the advancement of our regional position in the international arena.
His Excellency Taur Matan Ruak highlighted his country’s appreciation of the contribution given by the Fijian government and many of its citizens to the successful United Nations’ mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which recently completed its mandate. He stated he was pleased to hear the Government of Fiji announcing that there will be general democratic elections next year and hope that the free expression of the Fijian people’s will strengthen confidence and stability.
His Excellency said that Timor-Leste was preparing to make considerable investment in infrastructure with a view to encouraging economic development and the creation of job opportunities, decisively fighting poverty. Timor-Leste economic growth rate has averaged 12% a year since 2007 and offered that his country was ready to work together with Fiji to contribute to the development and deepening of good relations.
A PRODUCTIVE WORKFORCE FOR A BETTER FIJI
The Ministry of Labour will adopt Quality Management Systems (QMS) this year to strengthen government’s commitment to good governance and equal opportunities for all Fijians in the labour sector.
The ministry is currently building on its internal capacities through international benchmarking and standards and strives to be ISO 9001:2008 certified by the end of 2013. This would provide an international standard of work within the Labour Ministry and result in quality service delivery that would meet customers’ expectations.
The Minister for Labour, Mr Jone Usamate said the ministry is focused on establishing an enabling and sustainable environment created through modern and progressive policies, legislations, programmes and actions that would make Fiji a highly attractive place to work and live in.
He added that the progressive labour reforms are also scheduled for conclusion this year.
“The Workers’ Compensation Reform, as part of our social protection to injury and loss of life during employment is scheduled for completion in 2013. Our design is to merge the Workers’ Compensation Reform with OHS Reform into a new institution is also very interesting,” Minister Usamate said.
He stressed that while this merger would strengthen Government’s initiative in providing social protection in the labour market, it would also contribute directly to the reduction in size of Government.
“The new institution will become a self-funding authority and independent.”
The Labour Ministry, as part of its productivity reforms, will also work towards the establishment of a Fiji Productivity and Training Agency to boost sectoral and national productivity.
“The Agency will articulate the importance of sustainable productivity in alleviating poverty and improving the standards of living for individual lives, families, organisations, societies and the nation as a whole,” Mr Usamate said.
The Labour Ministry will also focus on developing competency based training packages and conduct these trainings to enable the ministry staff to be competent in the work they do.
SUGAR INDUSTRY PROJECTS FOR A POSITIVE YEAR
Maintenance work and other initiatives undertaken during the sugar industry’s off-season would boost sugar production throughout the year.
Today the Fiji Sugar Corporation pointed out that the off-season provides an opportune time for sugar stakeholders especially farmers to strengthen and improve their production process throughout the year.
FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan says they are anticipating an increase in sugar production this year due to the various reforms already implemented and the activities that will be undertaken during the off-season.
“We are looking at producing 190, 000 tonnes of raw sugar right through to September 30, 2013,” he said.
This is an increase of 35, 000 tonnes from what was produced in the previous year.
The corporation has also highlighted that losses and damages incurred during Tropical Cyclone Evan has not been significant adding that they are positive that favourable weather conditions will restore damaged crop.
Last year, Fiji exported 147, 000 tonnes of sugar to its only overseas buyer Tate and Lyle after producing 155, 000 tonnes of raw sugar.
It is estimated that Fiji will export 160,000 from what the corporation has projected will be produced this year. Surplus from this production will be for the local market.