1. HEALTH MINISTRY GETS NEW BLOOD DONOR BUS – The Ministry of Health’s aim of achieving a 100 per cent voluntary non – regulated blood donation by 2020 today received a major boost following a donation of a new blood donor vehicle from the Government of Japan.
2. RURAL FIJIANS WILL NOT PAY 10% PARTIAL DEPOSIT FOR WATER – The FijiFirst Government’s bid to provide clean, reliable and improved piped water supply to rural Fijians will no longer require the partial deposit of 10 per cent by communities.
3. GOVERNMENT REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO SME’s DEVELOPMENT – The FijiFirst Government will continue to support the establishment and development of small and micro enterprises because of its potential to help families and the nation.
4. NEW MACHINERY TO BOOST AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN LUTU – The recent presentation of farming implements to the tikina of Lutu in the province of Naitasiri will support the agriculture developments taking place there.
5. KORO FARMERS ASSISTED THROUGH RURAL AND OUTER ISLANDS PROJECT – Two livestock farmers through the Rural and Outer Islands Project of the Ministry of Agriculture will now be able to move from subsistence to semi-commercial and commercial level by increasing their stock.
1. HEALTH MINISTRY GETS NEW BLOOD DONOR BUS
The Ministry of Health’s aim of achieving a 100 per cent voluntary non – regulated blood donation by 2020 today received a major boost following a donation of a new blood donor vehicle from the Government of Japan.
The new vehicle, to be used in the western division will receive blood that is critical for surgeries and saves lives during operations.
The Minister for Health & Medical Services, Hon. Jone Usamate received the new vehicle on behalf of the Fijian Government at the Lautoka Hospital from the Japanese Ambassador to Fiji His Excellency Takuji Hanatani.
“This assistance and donation of this blood donation bus from the people of Japan for clinical service delivery, especially for the blood donor recruitment programme is a timely donation and augurs well with the ministry’s endeavour to reach 100 per cent voluntary non – regulation blood donation by 2018,” Minister Usamate said.
“The Fijian government wishes to acknowledge with great appreciation the goodwill of the government of Japan for this donation.”
Minister Usamate assured the Japanese envoy that the donation would further enable the blood service unit in increasing their blood drive campaign in the western division.
“This project is again evidence of the continued goodwill between both governments and the people of Japan and Fiji,” Minister Usamate said.
H.E Hanatani said the new vehicle would further strengthen the work of the ministry’s blood unit.
“The specialised technology and inbuilt equipment of the new bus will also improve the experience of donating blood for both the donor and the medical attendants,” HE Hanatani said.
2. RURAL FIJIANS WILL NOT PAY 10% PARTIAL DEPOSIT FOR WATER
The FijiFirst Government’s bid to provide clean, reliable and improved piped water supply to rural Fijians will no longer require the partial deposit of 10 per cent by communities.
Government has provided $3.7 million to the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) to implement Rural Water Supply Scheme projects in the four divisions.
Minister for Finance and Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the removal of 10 per cent contribution by communities from next year is reflective of Government’s commitment to providing clean drinking water to all Fijians.
Welcoming this development, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Parveen Kumar Bala said it was a big relief for communities who struggled to meet the 10 per cent deposit requirement.
“As far as infrastructure development, including water projects are concerned, the 10 per cent community contributions will now be removed and Government will pay for the whole project. This will be a huge help to people because soon they will enjoy piped water supply,” Minister Bala said.
A number of projects identified in previous years had to be put on hold because of communities’ inability to contribute their share.
However, Minister Bala said, this will change in the near future.
“The reason being is that a number of projects that should have been implemented before, have not kicked off till today because majority of the people have not paid their contributions. Due to these weaknesses, government projects were on hold.
“The good thing is that now when the beneficiaries’ contributions are not required, projects on hold will surely start,” Minister Bala said.
Meanwhile, Fijians living in maritime and rural drought-stricken areas will benefit from the provision of 2000 free water tanks in 2016.
A new allocation of $1.4 million is given for the free water tanks.
3. GOVERNMENT REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO SME’s DEVELOPMENT
The FijiFirst Government will continue to support the establishment and development of small and micro enterprises because of its potential to help families and the nation.
The Minister for Labour and Employment Hon. Semi Koroilavesau said that while SMEs indirectly contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the potential to contribute towards the lives of ordinary Fijians is enormous.
The Minister made the comments while opening a week – long Training Course on Industrial Engineering Techniques for Productivity Improvement in SMEs at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi today.
“As you are aware that Government places huge emphasis on SMEs and the Prime Minister is leading the charge in changing the face of SMEs in the country by strengthening our small market holders to increase their contribution towards the nation’s GDP from the current 14 per cent,” he said.
“Work has already started on this and you can see that through the grants provided to our small businessmen and women to further enhance their contribution in earning a decent living towards their family and at the same time contribute towards the nation’s growth.”
In 2015, Government has already assisted close to 3,000 SMEs through grants of $1,000 to assist Fijians to start or improve their business.
The training, he says, was timely and improves Fiji’s national productivity through SME’s. He also commended the Asian Productivity Organisation (APO) and the National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) of the Fiji National University (FNU).
“The NTPC as you know is designated as Fiji’s National Productivity Organisation (NPO) for Fiji and is responsible for promoting productivity and business excellence in Fiji and this is a job that is undertaken very effectively by the Centre,” Hon. Koroilavesau added.
“Needless to say, the Government will actively look at reviewing the effectiveness of all its operations, including that of the NTPC so that it is in no way constrained in delivering its mandate and remains well-resourced and supported.”
The objective of the training was to help participants in the application of industrial engineering techniques to analyse and control work processes to increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve quality in organisations.
Eighteen international participants, six local, and three international resource persons including a programme officer from Japan are attending the training.
4. NEW MACHINERY TO BOOST AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN LUTU
The recent presentation of farming implements to the tikina of Lutu in the province of Naitasiri will support the agriculture developments taking place there.
This latest development comes after the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Rural and Maritime Development Hon. Joeli Cawaki recently handed over a tractor and farming implements as part of continuous efforts by the FijiFirst Government to support the advancement of agriculture in rural communities.
Minister Cawaki said that introducing modern technology in agricultural practice would increase productivity and create efficiency.
“There is a need for farmers to increase their production through the help of a tractor to meet the market demand,” Assistant Minister Cawaki said. “The tractor will not only assist farmers in increasing production but it will also contribute significantly to the income of the farming community.”
He also highlighted that $800,000 has been allocated in next year’s national budget for subsidising purchases in terms of machines.
54-year-old Akuila Saurara of Navuniyaro village expressed his joy with the Government’s support.
“I have been farming for ages and I sincerely thank this Government for this support,” Mr Saurara said.
He said having a tractor in their tikina would definitely boost production.
The tractor will assist farmers in the village of Lutu, Navuniyaro and Nukuloa who all are part of the tikina of Lutu. A similar assistance was recently provided to the province of Rewa to assist in agricultural production.
5. KORO FARMERS ASSISTED THROUGH RURAL AND OUTER ISLANDS PROJECT
Two livestock farmers through the Rural and Outer Islands Project of the Ministry of Agriculture will now be able to move from subsistence to semi-commercial and commercial level by increasing their stock.
This follows the issue of a set of materials by the Agriculture Ministry including concrete block, nails, honey extractors and bee-suits for livestock breeding in Koro recently.
The assistance was provided on one-third, two-third basis under the ROI project.
Agriculture Assistant, Animal Health and Production (Lomaiviti) Sevuloni Beci said the Ministry is responding to requests through the Rural and Outer Islands (ROI) Program of all livestock farmers including Koro.
“As this is the first livestock assistance for Koro through the ROI Project we look forward in assisting more farmers especially in outer islands in all the commodities.”
“In addition, with the increase in livestock and honey demand on Koro, we are focusing on the reduction of the transition of livestock from the mainland to outer islands through this ROI project,” Mr Beci said.
Agriculture Assistant (Koro) Isei Namacamaca said the assistance provided by Government through the project will help farmers move from subsistence to semi-commercial and commercial farming.
“We have been advocating this type of farming to Koro farmers and the assistance by the Ministry of Agriculture through ROI is timely and will help the farmers in their plan for improved and sustainable livelihood,” he said.
“Supporting and meeting the needs of these farmers will greatly encourage and give confidence to the farmers to carry out livestock and crop farming as a business,” he said.
“Similarly the introduction of the Maritime Millionaire Program concept which has now engaged 136 youths of Koro with a five year target is now rolling for youths to achieve through farming.”
Assisted farmers include Josaia Nakabe of the Nakabe Bee Project in Sinuvaca and Malakai Salabula Piggery Shed of Nacamaki and they are grateful of the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture through the Rural and Outer Islands Project.