- FIJIAN PRESIDENT LEADS WORLD AUTISM DAY CELEBRATIONS IN SUVA – His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today reminded students of the Suva Special School that Government’s commitment to addressing autism will ensure that students would never “walk alone” again.
- CENTRAL BANK PRESENTS 2013 PROFIT TO PRIME MINISTER – The Reserve Bank of Fiji’s profits for the 2013 financial period was presented to the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama as head of Government and the Finance Ministry.
- FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER HOLDS TALKS WITH BULGARIAN MEP – Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola met this week with the Hon. Slavi BINEV of Bulgaria and a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
- REGIONAL MINISTERS URGED TO WORK TOGETHER TO ADDRESS TRANSPORT AND ENERGY IDEAS – Regional minsters from Pacific were urged to share information, ideas and experiences in the areas of transport and energy.
- INDIA SURGICAL TEAM TO OFFER PUBLIC HEALTH ASSISTANCE – Specialists from the Sahyadri Group of Hospital India will be conducting advanced neurosurgical and orthopaedic surgeries in Fiji.
- FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER HOLDS TALKS WITH GEORGIA FOREIGN MINISTER – The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola met with his Georgian counterpart Hon. Maia Panjikidze, at the margins of the International Conference on Genocide Prevention, today in Brussels, at the Georgian Embassy.
- NORTHERN PUBLIC URGED TO VISIT GOVERNMENT ROADSHOW – Around 5000 people will benefit from the first ever government road show in the Northern Division which is set to take place at Nadogo Central College in Wainikoro, Macuata tomorrow 3rd April 2014.
- NAMAU TO GET WATER PLANT SOON – Water woes for residents and nearby communities in Namau, Tailevu will soon be a thing of the past with the installation of a water purifying plant.
1 FIJIAN PRESIDENT LEADS WORLD AUTISM DAY CELEBRATIONS IN SUVA
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today reminded students of the Suva Special School that Government’s commitment to addressing autism will ensure that students would never “walk alone” again.
Speaking at the World Autism Awareness Day celebrations held at the school, His Excellency told students with special needs, parents and teachers that there is a need to raise awareness on autism at all levels of society, which is a lifelong developmental condition usually affecting children.
Autism is characterised by lack of response to people as well as limited ability to communicate.
“Today it is our role to educate the public and community so they may have a better understanding of Autism. We are here not only to celebrate the fact that we are aware of autism but also to acknowledge that due to much painstaking research, we now also possess a better knowledge of autism,” Ratu Epeli said.
Studies have shown and proven that there are more children diagnosed with autism than with diabetes, cancer and AIDS combined.
“As part of efforts to provide a holistic and systematic approach to assisting all people with special needs, Government is now finalising the Disability Decree which should be introduced soon,” Ratu Epeli highlighted.
He also encouraged all Fijians to work in togetherness in order to improve the lives of people with special needs, including those on the autism spectrum.
“The development and delivery for more effective studies and treatment need to be addressed and adjustments need to be made to ensure that people and persons with autism are accepted, respected and supported like any other Fiji citizen.
“A collaborative and concerted approach will ensure that we fulfill the requirements of Fiji’s new Constitution which calls for an inclusive society where no one is left out irrespective of race, social background or physical and mental ability,” Ratu Epeli said.
While this is the seventh year of celebrations for World Autism Awareness Day, Namadi Heights based Suva Special School observed it for the third time today.
School head teacher, Bishwa Sidal said those parents of children with special needs must seek assistance with special schools.
“Parents need to be educated on what disability a child has and how their brain works. Only then they will understand the children better,” Mr Sidal said.
“Members of the community also need to accept and support children with special needs, including those with autism. Spreading awareness of autism in a child is very important. We need more specialised teachers and support staff in this field in order to make proper assessments and programs.”
More than 150 students and teachers of special schools around Suva with Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons converged at Suva Special School to mark World Autism Awareness Day.
2 CENTRAL BANK PRESENTS 2013 PROFIT TO PRIME MINISTER
The Reserve Bank of Fiji’s profits for the 2013 financial period was presented to the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama as head of Government and the Finance Ministry.
The governor and Chairman of Fiji’s central bank, Barry Whiteside said that the $39.9 million presented comprised the financial bank’s total profit of $31.9 million for the financial year ending 31 December 2013 and $8.0 million which represents one fifth of the balance of the revaluation reserves account.
“The transfer was made yesterday and we symbolically presented the cheque to the Prime Minster today for our profits in 2013 totalling $39.9 million,” Mr Whiteside said.
Mr Whiteside was accompanied by RBF’s board of directors, deputy governor, Inia Naiyaga and the Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca.
3 FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER HOLDS TALKS WITH BULGARIAN MEP
Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola met this week with the Hon. Slavi BINEV of Bulgaria and a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
Mr Binev met the Minister and expressed interest to serve as Fiji’s Honorary Consul in Bulgaria.
Mr Binev is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) as well as a member of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. As a MEP, Mr Binev works on several parliamentary committees and has extensive experience in EU parliamentary affairs. He is very keen to develop closer ties between Bulgaria and the Pacific region, particularly with Fiji. He said that he will place the interests of Fiji high in his political priorities in his work in the European Parliament and would also be keen to develop economic and political ties between the two countries.
Minister Kubuabola thanked Mr Binev for his offer of support and interest to assist Fiji. He said that there are several areas where Bulgaria could help Fiji. Most notable was in the field of education where the Minister gave the example of recent diplomatic relations with several developed and developing countries which Fiji had established. The countries concerned had offered to assist Fiji in providing scholarships for further studies which had been very much appreciated and assisted a number of students.
It was noted tourism, like Fiji, was very important to the Bulgarian economy and there was a good scope for sharing information and experience in tourism and related activities.
Minister Kubuabola was also introduced by Mr Binev to King (Tsar) Simeon II of the Bulgarians.
4 REGIONAL MINISTERS URGED TO WORK TOGETHER TO ADDRESS TRANSPORT AND ENERGY IDEAS
Regional minsters from Pacific were urged to share information, ideas and experiences in the areas of transport and energy.
This was relayed by Fiji’s Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations Jone Usamate at the official opening of the “Second Pacific Regional Meeting of Ministers of Energy and Maritime Transport” in Nadi today.
“The theme has been chosen because it captures the nerve centre of our vulnerability as a small island states in the Pacific in the middle of the Pacific Ocean quite far away from our major source markets,” Minister Usamate told participants.
“Energy and transport key drivers of our economies but they are also the two sector that pose the greatest challenge to our sustainable development as a nation because the cost of providing these two essentials service to our people is huge,” Minister Usamate said.
Minster Usamate highlighted that the Pacific Plan gives leaders some strategies direction on how to address this problem as it also focuses on sustainable development as one of its key pillars in its framework.
Sharing similar sentiments, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community director Dr. Collin Tukuitonga pointed out although the maritime transport sector is critical for the Pacific region development efforts and is the backbone to the regional international trade.
“For many Pacific Island communities domestic shipping s the only means of international connectivity and access,” Dr Tukuitonga said.
“To address the development of regional coordinated approach to improve port state control in the Pacific would be an essential part of addressing the leaders concern,” Dr Tukuitonga said.
Dr Tukuitonga said the meeting provides an important platform to address the relationship between energy supply and transportation sector. He said that regional ministers should use the meeting to exchange ideas and present challenges and opportunities.
5 INDIA SURGICAL TEAM TO OFFER PUBLIC HEALTH ASSISTANCE
Specialists from the Sahyadri Group of Hospital India will be conducting advanced neurosurgical and orthopaedic surgeries in Fiji.
The advanced neurosurgical team will be conducting operations from the 14th– 25th April 2014 at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital. These surgeries will include spinal and brain surgery.
The orthopaedic surgeries will be conducted at the Lautoka Hospital from the 19th-30th May 2014. Surgeries will include knee and hip replacement as well as joint arthroscopy (diagnostics and therapeutics).
Visits by these specialist teams are beneficial as this proves to be cost saving for the patient and relatives as well as the Ministry.
Those wanting to undertake these operations will need a doctor’s referral and will be diagnosed for surgery. Apart from this, patients will be required to provide basic details and financial details which will be screened by the Medical Board and Health Ministry.
After this, the costing will be determined which would be paid by the patient with a proportionate subsidy by the government for those who fall under the selection criteria.
Previously the team visited in October 2013 whereby 10 patients underwent the neurosurgical operation. Apart from this 10 patients that underwent orthopaedic surgery a 100% success rate was noted.
The Health Ministry will accommodate referrals from all General Practitioners, Hospital, health centres and Insurance companies. For medical tourism promotion, citizens’ nationals of other countries; like Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific countries may send their details for appointment.
Meanwhile patients and relatives wanting to undergo these surgeries can contact the Health Ministry for more information.
6 FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER HOLDS TALKS WITH GEORGIA FOREIGN MINISTER
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola met with his Georgian counterpart Hon. Maia Panjikidze, at the margins of the International Conference on Genocide Prevention, today in Brussels, at the Georgian Embassy.
The meeting, which was convened at the request of Minister Panjikidze, amongst other things focussed on the opportunities to enhance and strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, Fiji and Georgia.
These include the sharing of experiences and lessons that can be learnt from providing of efficient government services from a single point, similar to a one-stop shop concept, where all different government agencies’ registrations, approval processes and eventual production of consequential government cards, identities, certificates, licenses, passports, documents, etc are handled totally by the Georgian government “Service Hall”.
It is a concept that has been studied and localised by many countries. Minister Panjikidze expressed Georgian interest to deepen bilateral relations for both countries, and hence the Ministers agreed to identify appropriately qualified persons as Honorary Consuls, in respective countries.
Minister Kubuabola also expressed the Fijian Government’s appreciation to the Georgian Government for providing scholarships for 6 Fiji students who are currently studying medicine in Georgia. Minister Panjikidze also thanked Minister Kubuabola and the Government of Fiji for its measured support and understanding in Georgia’s political development. Minister Kubuabola extended an invitation to Minister Panjikidze to visit Fiji, in the near future. The invitation was also reciprocated by Minister Panjikidze.
Lastly, in Georgia’s efforts to promote its local traditions and socio-economic development initiatives, Minister Panjikidze also extended an invitation to Ambassador Vocea, who is accredited to Georgia, to participate in a diplomatic and cultural appreciation program for all Resident and Non-Resident diplomats, which is to be organised by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia from the 23-25 of May. The program will coincide with Georgia’s Independence Day on the 26th of May.
7 NORTHERN PUBLIC URGED TO VISIT GOVERNMENT ROADSHOW
Around 5000 people will benefit from the first ever government road show in the Northern Division which is set to take place at Nadogo Central College in Wainikoro, Macuata tomorrow 3rd April 2014.
This roadshow targets Fijians from the districts of Udu, Dogotuki, Namuka, Nadogo, Mali in the province of Macuata and the district of Tawake in the province of Cakaudrove. Communities will be able to access information on goods and services to improve their livelihood.
With the theme “Taking Government Services to the Rural Communities”, this initiative by the Bainimarama government is intended to bridge the gap between government and its rural population across the country.
The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development permanent secretary, Filipe Alifereti said their objective is to take Government services out to the communities in these districts.
“These areas have very limited means of communicating and access information on goods and services provided by Government and agencies in the private sector,” he said
“The event will be a marketing tool to create national awareness for agencies that will jointly promote and intensify information dissemination and sharing with the members of the local communities and to better identify issues and meet those actual needs.”
The Wainikoro event is also the first of a series of road-shows planned by government in the rural areas and outer-lying islands this year.
More than 50 government ministries, private sector agencies and commercial banks have confirmed participation to bring their services closer to the rural communities residing along the north east of Labasa town.
The four local village communities of Nubu, Mouta, Vunivutu and Navukebuli, which surrounds the Wainikoro Government station have confirmed their support and attendance for the event and will provide accommodation to officials of the various agencies.
School children from the six primary schools of Nubu, Lagalaga, Naikelikoso, Daku, Navoalevu and Draladamu will also join secondary school students from Nadogo Central College during the event.
Government departments that will display their services for the public include birth, death and marriage registrations, agriculture and fisheries and forest, Northern development program, trade and commerce, health, rural and maritime development, education, immigration, prime minister’s office, women and social welfare, sugar and labour.
Other services that members of the public will be able to access include the Land Transport Authority, Water Authority, Fiji Roads, ITaukei Lands Trust board, Fiji National Provident fund, Maritime services authority of Fiji, Post Fiji, telecommunication and media companies and financial assistance through commercial banks.
The two day programme will be officiated by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Lieutenant -Colonel Inia Seruiratu.
8 NAMAU TO GET WATER PLANT SOON
Water woes for residents and nearby communities in Namau, Tailevu will soon be a thing of the past with the installation of a water purifying plant.
The issue of water woes in this area was raised by the Mata ni Tikina Namalata, Moape Naiduki during the talanoa session at the Tailevu Provincial Council meeting yesterday.
Water Authority of Fiji, Communication Officer, Maika Nagalu said that the next few weeks will see the clearing of a site to accommodate the water purifying plant.
“In regards to the water issue in Namau, there are already plans as the next 3 weeks will see machines clearing the area where the water purifying plant will sit,” Mr Nagalu said.
“We are also awaiting the Fiji Electricity Authority to provide power in that area before we can commence.”
Mr Nagalu added that the Namau project, once complete, will cater for consumers in Korovou, Queen Victoria School and nearby communities.
WAF is assisting close to 65 rural projects this year with 47 funded by the authority and 18 funded by through the Divisional Commissioners’ Office.