1. FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER SENDS CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO CHINA – PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has expressed confidence that friendly relations between Fiji and the People’s Republic of China will continue to reach new heights.
2. PM BAINIMARAMA SENDS CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO TUVALU – PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sent a congratulatory note to his Tuvaluan counterpart, Mr Enele Sosene Sopoaga, on their 35th Independence Day celebrations.
3. FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS CLIMATE CHANGE CHIEF – The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola recently met with Ms Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the margins of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
4. RECIPIENTS ADVISED ON FOOD VOUCHER COLLECTION – The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is advising all its social welfare recipients that their monthly allowances for next 3 months should be paid into their bank accounts from the 7th of October, 2013.
5. SENIOR CITIZENS COMMENDED FOR CONTRIBUTION TO NATION BUILDING – Government continues to look into all avenues to assist all generations including the elderly persons of Fiji.
6. DELIVERY OF SERVICES CONTINUES THROUGH GOVERNMENT CENTRES – The delivery of basic services to all Fijians remains a top priority for the State.
7. IMPROVING MATERNAL HEALTH CARE A PRIORITY – As part of its efforts to improve maternal health care, the health ministry today received sanitary GIGGLES starter packs from SCA Hygiene Australasia that will be distributed to hospitals for pregnant women.
8. GOVERNMENT PRIORITISES CARE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS – Government is committed to addressing the issues and concerns of older persons in the country through policies such as National Policy on Ageing (2011-2015) and the recently established National Council for Older Persons.
9. MIDDLE MANAGERS TO BE EFFECTIVE LEADERS – Middle managers from the civil service are in the fourth cohort training aimed at developing effective leadership skills at the work place, home and community.
10. MINISTER APPLAUDS FNU’S PROGRESS AND ACHIEVEMENTS – The Minister for Education National Heritage Culture and Arts Filipe Bole expressed his pride being associated with Fiji National University (FNU) at the second FNU Council meeting last week.
1 FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER SENDS CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO CHINA
PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has expressed confidence that friendly relations between Fiji and the People’s Republic of China will continue to reach new heights.
In a congratulatory message to his Chinese counterpart, Premier, Mr Li Keqiang, on the occasion of the 64th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the head of the Fijian Government said, “I am confident that the friendly relations between our two great countries will continue to prosper and elevated into greater heights in the coming years.”
Prime Minister Bainimarama assured Premier Keqiang of Fiji’s commitment to grow relations between the two nations.
“I wish Your Excellency good health, your great country and its people prosperity and happiness”, the Prime Minister said in his message.
The Chinese Embassy hosted a reception last night which was attended by His Excellency, the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and the first lady, Adi Koila Nailatikau as well as Cabinet Ministers.
China’s Ambassador to Fiji, Mr Huang Yong said China considers Fiji as an equal partner and equal member of the world community.
“The China-Fiji relationship embodies the very essence of China’s major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics,” he said.
He said China-Fiji relations have reached new heights and continues to provide tangible result.
Mr Yong said one such case was the bilateral trade between the two nations which in the first half of 2013 reached US$125million (FJD$232.6m), an increase by 26.5 per cent when compared to last year.
“Exchanges and cooperation between the two countries are not only broad and comprehensive but also bring tangible benefits to the two peoples,” the Ambassador said.
“We support the government and people of Fiji in choosing their own development path in line with their own national conditions.”
2 PM BAINIMARAMA SENDS CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO TUVALU
PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sent a congratulatory note to his Tuvaluan counterpart, Mr Enele Sosene Sopoaga, on their 35thIndependence Day celebrations.
As close neighbours with friendly relations over the years, Prime Minister Bainimarama said “we share common visions and challenges” and as the journey for this mutual objective continues, he hopes the existing warm and friendly relations continues to be strengthened and enriched in the years ahead.
“The partnerships and cooperation in all spheres of our bilateral and multilateral engagements have resulted in meaningful progress in aspects of our relationship,” he said.
“In this early tenure of your Government, we are confident that this relationship will continue to prosper.”
Prime Minister said the Government and people of Fiji wished their Pacific brothers well and good health.
“I pray that our existing warm and friendly relations continue to be strengthened and enriched in the years ahead,” he said.
“May the Lord’s blessings and guidance be with Tuvalu in the many years ahead, in keeping with her National Motto of “Tuvalu mo te Atua”.”
The island was previously a British protectorate and administered as Gilbert and Ellice Islands which in present day are the two sovereign nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu.
Tuvalu gained independence in 1978.
3 FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS CLIMATE CHANGE CHIEF
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola recently met with Ms Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the margins of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Ratu Inoke and Ms Figueres discussed the developments thus far in the ongoing international negotiations on climate change under the UNFCCC, in particular the vital role Fiji is playing as chair of the Group of 77 and China as Parties looks forward to COP19 in Warsaw, Poland in November this year.
At the meeting, Ms Figueres discussed the views of her Secretariat regarding their major expectations for the Warsaw COP and hopes that Parties will finalize the institutional arrangements of the Convention including the Green Climate Fund, Loss and Damage Mechanism, the Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN) and the Adaptation Fund. Ms Figueres also expressed the hopes that Warsaw will lead to the early agreement for a text of the Convention that will be agreed to by Parties in 2015.
Ms Figueres thanked Fiji for its hosting in Nadi of two major UNFCCC Conferences, one on Loss & Damage, which looked at the implication of slow onsets of Climate Change and the Adaptation Fund, a funding mechanism under the UNFCCC.
In his response, Minister Kubuabola reassured the Executive Secretary that as the Chair of G77 and China, Fiji will do its utmost to see that the Group do its best to assist the Climate Change negotiations process arrive at a positive outcome in Poland.
4 RECIPIENTS ADVISED ON FOOD VOUCHER COLLECTION
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is advising all its social welfare recipients that their monthly allowances for next 3 months should be paid into their bank accounts from the 7th of October, 2013.
The Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta is reminding all the social welfare recipients to also collect their food vouchers for the next 3 months (October to December 2013).
“The Food Vouchers for the months of October to December is currently been distributed to all the district and divisional social welfare offices. All recipients are advised to collect their food vouchers only from the 7th of October 2013.
“The recipients are reminded to bring their Social Welfare Identification Cards (ID) to collect the Food Vouchers. These cards will be sighted for recertification purposes and to ensure that clients are still eligible for assistance,” Dr Koroivueta reiterated.
Those recipients whose Westpac ATM Cards are expiring in December 2013 are also advised to visit the nearest Westpac Branch during the food voucher collection and get a new ATM Card.
This is only applicable to those who will be collecting their food voucher books and not those with electronic food voucher cards (MH cards) or in Maritime areas. Currently there are total of 15,892 social welfare recipients under the government’s Food Voucher Programme. Of these 12,725 are assisted through food voucher books, while the others have an electronic food voucher ID cards.
For any further information on the food voucher collection, the recipients are advised to contact their nearest social welfare offices or else call Social Welfare Headquarters on 3315585 or 3315754.
5 SENIOR CITIZENS COMMENDED FOR CONTRIBUTION TO NATION BUILDING
Government continues to look into all avenues to assist all generations including the elderly persons of Fiji.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation organised the Senior Citizens Day this morning; an annual celebrated event promoting the rights but at the same time challenges faced by the elderly.
Their contribution to nation building was the message highlighted to elderly persons by chief guest Director Social Welfare, Rupeni Fatiaki at celebrations organised by the ministry in collaboration with the Fiji Police Force, Nasinu.
“Your presence, indicates your willingness to be part of the national agenda to acknowledge and work together towards addressing sustainable solutions to a society that will need to improve its service delivery for older persons in Fiji,” Mr Fatiaki said.
“The challenge for employment, challenge for sustainable health services, challenge for careers and the challenge of the world around us (most cities, modes of transport and buildings not adapted to a population with reduced mobility).”
He reiterated governments efforts to implementing the relevant plans, services and programs to assist in finding out where the gaps are in service delivery and resolving issues surrounding older persons.
“It is not an easy task because it requires commitment from all sectors of our society, including communities, faith based organisations, private sector, civil society and the government,” Mr Fatiaki said
Mr Fatiaki commended the tireless contributions and dedication that the elderly have contributed accordingly to our country.
The establishment of the National Council of Older Persons Decree (2012) is the advisory body to government on all issues and concerns of Older Persons in Fiji.
Mr Fatiaki urged the elderly to form associations in their communities and to link up with the council which will therefore undertake structured approaches to address issues.
6 DELIVERY OF SERVICES CONTINUES THROUGH GOVERNMENT CENTRES
The delivery of basic services to all Fijians remains a top priority for the State.
As such Government Service Centres have been set up in Suva, Nausori, Lautoka and Labasa and to which all Fijians can access every Mondayto Friday from 8am to 4.30pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 1.00pm.
Permanent Secretary, Public Service Commission (PSC) Parmesh Chand said that ordinary members of the public can now have access to a whole range of services from the Centres which have been strategically set up in their respective Divisions.
“The Government Service Centres were set up for the people. It is there to serve members of the public with the queries and issues that they may seek to know or clarify. It is a means of providing services to ordinary members of the public as they deserve much higher standards of attention, efficiency, courtesy and respect,” Mr Chand said.
Government Service Centres that serve in the Divisions fall within the ambit of respective Commissioner’s Office for instance GSC Labasa is looked after by Commissioner Northern’s Office.
The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development permanent secretary Filipe Alifereti said that Government has embraced the use of information technology to effectively deliver services to all Fijians.
“We are working in partnership with the Public Service Commission which was instrumental in the setup of these Centres to change the culture of the Civil Service so that it better responds to the needs of our people,” Mr Alifereti said.
Members of the public who visit these Centres with their queries and issues on births, marriages enquiry, on land issues, or on social welfare issues are provided with information on hand or referred to other Ministries by the GSC officers.
Any complaint from a member of the public is followed up with officers at the GSC immediately placing the complaint through the Unicentre system to the respective Ministries’ focal point. The Unicentre system was installed in partnership with Government’s IT Centre.
However, if a complaint has already been placed by a member of the public with a Ministry or Department then the GSC officer assists by following up with the respective focal points either by email, phone call or through an official letter.
7 IMPROVING MATERNAL HEALTH CARE A PRIORITY
As part of its efforts to improve maternal health care, the health ministry today received sanitary GIGGLES starter packs from SCA Hygiene Australasia that will be distributed to hospitals for pregnant women.
In receiving the donation, Fiji’s Health Minister Doctor Neil Sharma thanked the company for fulfilling its corporate social responsibility towards improving the livelihoods of all Fijians.
”The company has targeted vulnerable groups and these donations will motivate mothers to practice healthy lifestyle and clean sanitation,” Dr Sharma said.
“The company is also assisting in the renovation of the maternity unit with partners Digicel Fiji and over the years have been supporting the health ministry with the donation of soap packs and equipment,” Dr Sharma said.
Dr Sharma highlighted that through healthy and proper hygiene mothers will be able to nurture their children in a healthy environment.
The GIGGLES starter packs include diapers, baby wipes, Libra maternity pads and also washing detergents.
SCA Hygiene Australasia general manager Eldon Eastgate said these donations will allow parents to give their newborn child the best care.
“These donations will be distributed at the major maternity units at sub divisional hospitals and health centres,” Mr Eastgate said.
8 GOVERNMENT PRIORITISES CARE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
Government is committed to addressing the issues and concerns of older persons in the country through policies such as National Policy on Ageing (2011-2015) and the recently established National Council for Older Persons.
Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni highlighted this at the launch of the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) and HelpAge publication titled “A Compendium of Actions for Seniors Well Being in Fiji” at the Fiji Museum today.
The publication launch marked the celebration of the International Day for Older Persons and 25 years of starting the HelpAge Centre or care for the elderly program by FCOSS.
Dr Luveni said the National Policy on Ageing is a framework of key goals, objectives and actions that serves to improve service delivery to older persons.
“Ageing in the 21st century is indeed both a celebration and a challenge. Thus, population ageing can no longer be overlooked. It is an issue that is never missing from the agendas of program planning of the United Nations agencies and other international organizations. It is an important agenda in Fiji’s development programme,” Dr Luveni said.
Dr Luveni said healthy ageing has resulted in new markets, allowed for more experienced workers available widely, a growing cadre of custodians of culture, and caregivers for grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“But, it is also presenting major challenges, most notably ensuring the sustainability of pension funds and the ability of overburdened health care systems to serve much higher numbers of people.
“These implications, as well as the fact that new generations of older persons will be more educated, must be taken into account in policies in programmes that reflect changing age structures,” the minister said.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, it has been confirmed that in Fiji’s case, more than 3,000 people are projected to be added on to the 60+ age bracket, annually.
“The “oldest old” population 80 years of age and above is also expected to increase significantly over this period, from 5000 in 2010 to 28,500 by 2050. This categorized group is projected to grow at a faster rate- 5 percent per year for the next 20 years,” Dr Luveni said.
The Minister also pointed out the current programs and services for social protection for older persons.
“These include the bus fare concession and the recent Social Pension Scheme for older persons 70 years and above, that have never been on any superannuation scheme.
“The Bill of Rights in Fiji’s recently accented 2013 Constitution, has for the first time in the history of our beloved nation, in response to the strong wishes of our people, Fiji’s Constitution has provided for a wide range of socio-economic rights. These rights include rights to education, access to health care, housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, food security and safe water, and social security schemes,” Dr Luveni added.
She said that Fiji is well positioned to strengthen its advocacy and action to make the real change that older persons rightly deserve within the communities.
Meanwhile, FCOSS executive director Hassan Khan said “A Compendium of Actions for Seniors Well Being in Fiji” was significant for today’s celebration as it had the submissions the council made on the care and rights for the elderly.
“It is important for the senior citizens of Fiji and all the people of Fiji as the senior citizens are the asset of the family and they are the pride of the nation,” Mr Khan said.
“Fortunately caring for the elderly has been part of our culture and religion for all Fijians. Every culture promotes in-house and in-community care for the elderly and that is what we have been promoting.
“However, there are a number of people who are left alone and they have difficulties in dealing with the communities because they are lonely. We have three government owned senior citizens home and three private ones here and they are the ones caring for those left without any assistance,” Mr Khan stated.
Mr Khan also called on the younger generation to take care of their health now so that they enjoy a healthy, secure and productive ageing later in life.
9 MIDDLE MANAGERS TO BE EFFECTIVE LEADERS
Middle managers from the civil service are in the fourth cohort training aimed at developing effective leadership skills at the work place, home and community.
The training programme conducted by the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces in collaboration with the Public Service Commission (PSC) is held at the Centre for Training and Development focusing on areas of communication, personal administration, investigation, inquiry management and leadership.
PSC permanent secretary Parmesh Chand, while speaking at the opening of the training this morning, reminded the participants of the need to change attitude in the work culture for the purpose of better service delivery in a timely and efficient manner to members of the public.
“We need to continue instilling in the public service a change in attitude, change in the manner to which we respond to serving ordinary members of the public and the way we look after our properties, assets and work equipment,” PS Chand said.
The training programme is in line with the mandate of the third pillar of the People’s Charter which is ensuring effective, enlightened and accountable leadership and also serves as a means of creating stronger partnerships amongst ministries/departments and the RFMF in the resolve to build a better Fiji.
Mr Chand said the role of middle managers is to support senior managers, provide sound advice and ensure injustice, abuse or corruption in the system is removed.
Middle managers will be taught about the skills and expertise of leadership as well as discipline and healthy workforce practices during the six weeks training.
RFMF had previously trained 61 participants for the last three cohort training programme, which took place at the RFMF Training Centre in Vatuwaqa.
Mr Chand and the Commander of RFMF singed an MOU on 23rd February last year to conduct two sessions of the training for Middle Managers per annum until 2015.
There are 24 participants from Suva, Lautoka and Labasa attending this training which would come to an end on November 5, 2013.
10 MINISTER APPLAUDS FNU’S PROGRESS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
The Minister for Education National Heritage Culture and Arts Filipe Bole expressed his pride being associated with Fiji National University (FNU) at the second FNU Council meeting last week.
“Since FNU’s inception I am pleased to note the huge strides the University has made in the short years of its existence taking affordable education to every corner of the country” said Ambassador Bole.
“The government is generally happy with the developments at the University and its role in providing affordable education and training to our young people, through government initiated programmes like Agriculture, Basic Employment Skills Training and the highly successful sustainable livelihood programmes which now will move out to the region because of its tremendous success” added Ambassador Bole
“The FNU has achieved a lot in a short span of time and the government will continue to support FNU to make more progress in the many years to come, said Minister Bole.