1. PLAN AND INVEST FOR YOUR FUTURE– Workers in Fiji should make it their business to save money for their future and equally so, must plan for their retirement.
2. INVESTMENT BOOST IN NADI– People of Votualevu in Nadi can now find all their shopping needs at one place in their suburb after the opening of the second branch of U Save Supermarket in the area last night.
3. PSC TO SUPPORT IN PROMOTING FIJIAN MADE AND BUY FIJIAN CAMPAIGN– The Public Service Commission will work closely with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in promoting the ‘Fijian Made and Buy Fijian’ Campaign.
4. FINANCIAL TRAINING FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENT IN NORTH– Youth with special needs in the Northern Division were this week trained on their basic financial skills.
5. SOLAR PROJECTS ELECTRIFYING RURAL VILLAGES– Rural Fijian villages that were once dependent on kerosene lamps and candles are now able to access electricity with rollout of the environment friendly and cost effective solar electrification projects.
6. VIOLENCE FREE CAMPAIGNS PAYING DIVIDENDS FOR COMMUNITIES– The Fijian Government’s Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community campaign has paid dividends in that it has addressed the issue of violence against women and children through a multi-dimensional approach between the government, non-government organisation and the communities.
7. MINISTRY ADOPTS NEW APPROACH TO SERVICE DELIVERY– The Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation ministry has adopted two new strategies to foster efficiency and effectiveness in its service delivery.
8. JICA VOLUNTEERS PAY COURTESY CALL– Volunteers from the Japan to Fiji programme paid a courtesy call this morning to Public Service Commission.
9. TRAINING ENHANCES COMPETENCY SKILLS OF CIVIL SERVANTS– The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation recently organised an Induction Training for its newly recruited staff in a move to improve service delivery and ensure performance effectiveness.
1. PLAN AND INVEST FOR YOUR FUTURE
Workers in Fiji should make it their business to save money for their future and equally so, must plan for their retirement.
This was the message echoed by the Public Service permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand and the Westpac Fiji general manager, Adrian Hughes as they jointly opened the Retirement Planning Expo at Nakasi this morning.
Mr Chand said the expo provided a platform to promote government’s available products and this also included private sector organisations which offered a range of services for the retiring population.
Mr Hughes said planning for the future and retirement is a critical aspect of any person’s life.
“We believe that retirement is an integral part of a person’s life and holding such an expo in Fiji is critical to ensuring that people think about what they want to do during retirement and what they need to have to ensure that retirement is a time of peace of mind and enjoyment,” he said.
The PSC through its Fiji Volunteer Services (FVS) Scheme is offering opportunities to which retirees or would be retirees and youths could be involved in.
“These areas of national interest include the teaching volunteer scheme to the Pacific Island countries, working as youth rehabilitation communication assistants, and working as volunteers in Government Ministries, regional and international organizations,” Mr Chand said.
Mr Hughes encouraged the working population to put in place measures that will assist them in the future.
“I’d encourage everyone, even if you are not nearing retirement age, have just started work or have already retired to plan your retirement. It’s never too early or late to ensure you have enough funds set aside for your retirement,” Mr Hughes said.
Organizations present at Nakasi today include the Fiji Council of Social Services, Fiji National Provident Fund, Fijian Holdings Unit Trust, Life Insurance Corporation of India, Integrated Human Resource Development Programme (IHRDP), Tower Insurance, Reserve Bank of Fiji, Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority, National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprise Development, Quality Print Limited, Department of Cooperatives, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Youth & Sports, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice.
2. INVESTMENT BOOST IN NADI
People of Votualevu in Nadi can now find all their shopping needs at one place in their suburb after the opening of the second branch of U Save Supermarket in the area last night.
This investment by managing director, Bobby Khan, is in addition to a $3.5million shopping complex in the area, which was opened by the Prime Minister in November last year.
Mr Khan, who returned to invest in Fiji after living in New Zealand for more than 22 years, had bought the commercial property recently and renovated the small shop into a modern U Save Supermarket.
The two supermarkets owned by Mr Khan caters for about 10,000 people of the area.
Mr Khan said he is appreciative of the opportunities provided to investors in Fiji and looked forward to more investments in areas lacking in good facilities.
“A lot of people are moving towards Votualevu and I believe that this area holds a big population. We’ve decided to do some investment in this area because if you go to Australia and New Zealand, you’d see complexes and shopping malls in all suburbs but we do not have that here. We have decided to start in Votualevu,” Mr Khan said.
Mr Khan said there are other bigger investments planned for Nadi with plans of building a convention centre and a first class amusement park in the pipeline.
“The convention centre will hold about 600-800 people at a time. It could be used for weddings, church ceremonies, or any other big event.
It would be convenient and affordable and it should be ready by December. Construction works have already started.
“We are also going to have a first class amusement centre in Votualevu. I was in Hong Kong where we got, not 3D, but 4D gaming machines. The machines would arrive at the end of the month and hopefully opened next month. It is going to be really good for our children,” Mr Khan added.
He has already purchased an acre of land in Cuvu, Sigatoka where he wold build another shopping complex.
“The earthworks for the complex would start next week. Hopefully next year, we’ll be expecting another big complex in Cuvu. Sigatoka is also a tourism town and we need some good complexes there too. We are trying to invest in places where facilities like these are lacking,”
the managing director highlighted.
Mr Khan’s brother is also going to open a new plaza in Nadi in a couple of months time.
Meanwhile, while officially opening the new supermarket last night, the Attorney-General Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum encouraged other former Fijians living abroad and locals too, to invest in the country as the Government is proving incentives for investment here.
“One of the attractive things about Mr Bobby Khan and investors who have returned to Fiji, is that they have invested in areas where there was a lack of investment,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“Votualevu is a growing suburb of Nadi and there is demand for services and better roads. There is a demand for consumer, hardware items and entertainment in this area. The idea of getting services available at your doorstep is something that we must all get accustomed to.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that with the availability of good quality goods and services at affordable prices, the standard of living of the ordinary Fijians would also improve.
“By having such investments in working class areas, we are giving the ordinary Fijians a lot more advantages. We are giving them a lot more access to goods and services. So they do not have to travel long distances and spend more money on bus fares.
3. PSC TO SUPPORT IN PROMOTING FIJIAN MADE AND BUY FIJIAN CAMPAIGN
The Public Service Commission will work closely with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in promoting the ‘Fijian Made and Buy Fijian’Campaign.
Public service permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand said they have had discussions with the ministry of Industry and Trade regarding the placement of promotional billboards and materials at various Government premises including the Government Service Centre (GSC) in down town Suva.
“The GSC is located at a central area where people enter and leave Suva City so having the Campaign billboard placed at the site will promote the Campaign messages,” he said.
Mr Chand added that PSC in 2011 had invested in purchasing locally produced mahogany timber for the building of the Lounge for staff use.
He said that all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies are required to serve locally made products and grown fruit at morning teas and lunches hosted respectively by them and show support to this Campaign.
The ‘Fijian Made and Buy Fijian’ Campaign was launched by the Fijian Government in 2011 to create a Fijian brand and to promote Fijian made products and produce, both domestically and abroad, through a national branding strategy.
4. FINANCIAL TRAINING FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENT IN NORTH
Youth with special needs in the Northern Division were this week trained on their basic financial skills.
The training included students of Labasa Special School and youths from surrounding communities.
The first of its kind workshop was pioneered by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and taught young people how to best utilise their skills to generate income.
Youth and Sports permanent secretary Josefa Sania said they wanted to ensure that youths under the special needs category are not left out of the ministry’s services of empowerment and training.
“ You are unique and special. Have faith in yourself and prove to other young people that you are no lesser than them, “ Mr Sania stressed to the participants.
“Explore the worlds well during your youth and get to see God’s purpose for you.”
Northern Development project trainer Elenoa Rakai said training youths with special needs was the sweetest challenge ever for her.
“When we listen to their dreams and help them plan possible projects is very inspirational not only for them but for us as well,” said Ms Rakai.
The participants received Certificates of Participation and also have projects proposals done.
The workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Fiji National Council for Disable Persons and the Northern Development Programme.
5. SOLAR PROJECTS ELECTRIFYING RURAL VILLAGES
Rural Fijian villages that were once dependent on kerosene lamps and candles are now able to access electricity with rollout of the environment friendly and cost effective solar electrification projects.
This has been made possible through a partnership between the Ministry of Women, UN Women, Barefoot College in India, Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas Network (FLAMMA), and Global Environment Facility Small Grant Programme.
In 2011, Fiji was among in the first in the Pacific Region to send 10 women to the Barefoot College for 6 months training in solar electrification, who returned as Fiji’s first solar engineers. Following their return, the solar equipment’s arrived and solar committees were formed to rollout the solar electrification in 10 villages.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said the recent commissioning of solar lights in Waikubukubu village, Tavua and Nakorovou village in Bua has generated positive changes in these communities.
“The solar electrification rollout is well in progress and the Ministry is glad that solar engineers and solar committees are working together to install solar lights in their respective villages. The successful commissioning of solar electrification in Waikubukubu village has led to installation of solar lights in 57 houses and likewise in Nakorovou village 42 families are now accessing solar lights,” Dr Luveni.
“One of the significant benefits of solar lights is that it contributes towards the education of the children as they are able to study, prepare for their exams and it also promote reading at great advantage.
“The initiative will also enable the solar engineers to transfer skills of solar electrification to the youths. The opportunity has really met their needs and cultivated hope and means to improve livelihood of the communities.”
Dr Luveni said the ministry will work closely with the solar electrification committees to monitor the other projects.
Eight other villages that will also be solar electrified are: Vunidogoloa village in Cakaudrove, Lutukina and Nabouono village in Macuata. In Eastern division its Lawaki village, Nabouwalu, Naioti and Baidamudamu in Kadavu while for western divisions the Dama village in Ra will soon witness the commissioning of solar lights.
The Ministry has acknowledged UN Women for committing to the purchase of solar panels for the 10 villages.
These solar panels arrived in the country in April 2013 and a national workshop was organised from the 24th and 25th April that enabled the 10 solar grandmothers, 10 turaga-ni-koros (village headmen) and solar committee members from the 10 villages to develop their work plan on solar electrifying their respective villages.
6. VIOLENCE FREE CAMPAIGNS PAYING DIVIDENDS FOR COMMUNITIES
The Fijian Government’s Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community campaign has paid dividends in that it has addressed the issue of violence against women and children through a multi-dimensional approach between the government, non-government organisation and the communities.
The campaign initially launched in 2009 at Koroipita Rota Home in Lautoka, is coordinated by the ministry of Women in partnership with ministries of provincial development, health, education, agriculture, the Fiji Police Force and non-government organisations.
Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation minister Dr Jiko Luveni said the campaign has met its objective which is to empower and educate the communities in taking action to stop violence in their communities.
“In the process the communities setup the gatekeepers committee to monitor and respond to violence against women and children. Gate Keeper’s committee is made up of village leaders, chief/elders including the women and youth leaders, community policing. This committee is the eyes and ears of this campaign, they are fully trained to respond to all cases of violence and abused in their respective villages,” Dr Luveni said.
“Their role is to ensure that planned programs in the communities are undertaken within specified timeframe, it also plays an active role in advocating and implementing the phases of the campaign. A gatekeeper is chosen by the committee and provides regular feedbacks to the community stakeholders alike. The success of this campaign is in the hands of the gatekeeping committee.”
So far total of 63 gatekeepers committees have been established as a result of the communities commitment and declaration to this campaign.
There are 10 major phases carried out during the implementation of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign and these are: Initial planning process, identification of stakeholders, stakeholders meeting, establishment of gatekeepers committee, community consultation, official commitment, stakeholders training on gender based violence, community training on gender based violence, economic and social empowerment program and finally the declaration of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community.
7. MINISTRY ADOPTS NEW APPROACH TO SERVICE DELIVERY
The Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation ministry has adopted two new strategies to foster efficiency and effectiveness in its service delivery.
Permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta confirmed that they have a strict twenty four (24) hour turnaround time to facilitate all directives handed from their Minister’s office.
“The 24 hour turnaround time response has come into effect last week and this has been implemented as part of a reform process undertaken in the Ministry to ensure timely service delivery to all our clients,” he said.
“This new turnaround timeline applies when responding to all the deliverable’s coming from Madam Minister’s office and this strategy has been the most called for given that this Ministry is key government agency administering programs on women empowerment, implementing social welfare programs for poor families, senior citizens, disabled persons and disadvantaged children.”
Dr Koroivueta said that there is a monitoring mechanism in place to ensure that all Minister’s directives are implemented effectively at all levels.
“These procedures have to be adhered to in a responsible and timely manner,” he reiterated.
The ministry has designed a document tracking form to ensure time management and efficiency in the registry.
“The document tracking form has been instrumental in speeding up the processes in registry particularly when responding efficiently to the inward and outward correspondences. The document ensures transparency and fosters timely responses on all correspondences requiring endorsement and action,” Dr Koroivueta said.
8. JICA VOLUNTEERS PAY COURTESY CALL
Volunteers from the Japan to Fiji programme paid a courtesy call this morning to Public Service Commission.
The new Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Volunteers who arrived into the country on July 3 will be sharing their skills, knowledge and expertise in technical and educational development areas in Fiji. They were accompanied by the JICA Resident Representative His Excellency Mr Shumon Yoshiara and the Director of the JICA Volunteer Program Mr Eiji Shibasaki.
Public Service permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand today welcomed the continued spirit of cooperation between the Governments of Fiji and Japan through JICA.
“The provision of skilled experts to Fiji over the years continues to positively contribute towards the enhancement of economic and social services,” Mr Chand said.
He said JICA volunteers provided exemplary services throughout the country and the commission was pleased to welcome the new volunteers.
The areas of assistance to which the volunteers will be assigned to are in primary school education, fisheries development, automobile maintenance, water supply, vegetable growing and environmental education.
9. TRAINING ENHANCES COMPETENCY SKILLS OF CIVIL SERVANTS
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation recently organised an Induction Training for its newly recruited staff in a move to improve service delivery and ensure performance effectiveness.
Last month, the ministry organised a series of three(3) trainings in the Central, Western and Northern division.
Permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said this was the first time for the ministry to organise induction training that complements the Pillar 4 of People’s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress, “Enhancing Public Sector Efficiency, Performance Effectiveness and Service Delivery.”
“The primary objective of the Induction training was to ensure that all the staff including the new staff are aware and understand the government machinery, the deliverables outlined in the Ministry’s Annual Corporate Plan and also to learn about their rights and responsibilities as civil servants,” she said.
“This training is timely given that significant reforms have taken in social welfare and the Ministry will play an integral role in administering social welfare programs namely the Poverty Benefit Scheme, Social Pension Scheme, Care and Protection Program, Food Voucher Program, Bus Fare Scheme.”
Dr Koroivueta said that an Induction Package has also been developed and it will be resourceful in organising similar training opportunities for the social welfare and women officers.
“The induction training has enabled the staff to clearly understand the systems and process of the Ministry. An Induction Package has been developed as a learning guide and the Ministry will continue to monitor the skills sets with annual refresher program undertaken.
This initiative he said has raised the confidence of the staff and enabled them to acquire skills to become competent in their roles.
“The component on Customer Service Charter and Customer Services is an eye opener for most of staff and this has shown them the way forward to take ownership of their deliverable’s and utilize skills acquired to deliver the Ministry’s services efficiently and effectively. A test was also given to the participants to gauge on their level of understanding, they were also recognized through the presentation of certificates,” Dr Koroivueta added.