- MINISTRY WELCOMES THE MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, PRODUCTIVITY AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS-The new Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Mr Jioji Konrote is adamant that the Ministry’s unison in achieving Government’s goals will leave a legacy of service for the coming generation.
- MINIMISE WATER USAGE- WAF ADVISES CUSTOMERS –The Water Authority of Fiji will consider water rationing if a need arises and will advise customers accordingly.
- GOVERNMENT RECOGNISES CONTRIBUTIONS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS TOWARDS ECONOMIC GROWTH –Government recognises the contribution of children living with special needs towards national growth in all forms including economic growth, social growth and health.
- ITAUKEI INSTITUTE MEETS CULTURAL MAPPING TARGETS –The government’s approach known as cultural mapping program (CMP) aims to identify and confirm the way of life, culture and tradition belonging to a particular village and is copyrighted to help their identity.
- AKBAR BRIEFED ON THE NEW PORTFOLIO -The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty AlleviationRosy Sofia Akbar has been briefed on the policies and reforms of the Ministry.
- STAKEHOLDERS BRIEFED ON CURRENT DRY SPELL-The different agencies of Government were today briefed on the drought situation brought about by the current dry spell affecting the whole of Fiji.
- MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO EASE PATIENT CARE-The Colonial War Memorial Hospital received medical supplies from the Vodafone Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH) Fiji Foundation to ease patient care and to ensure better service delivery.
1. MINISTRY WELCOMES THE MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, PRODUCTIVITY AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
The new Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Mr Jioji Konrote is adamant that the Ministry’s unison in achieving Government’s goals will leave a legacy of service for the coming generation.
The Minister addressed the Senior Officials of the Ministry yesterday as they welcomed him in a traditional ceremony at the Ministry’s Headquarters.
“This is something new to me, and I certainly look forward to your support in our collective effort to ensure that the targeted outcomes, the vision of Government, enshrined in the Constitution come to a success.
I would not like to consider myself a politician, but, I would like to be referred to as the servant of the people. I am here to serve the Government.
And I have no doubt that in years to come we will leave a legacy of service for those who are coming behind us,” Mr Jioji Konrote said.
The Minister called for the support and commitment of all Ministry staff in their journey towards achieving excellence in service delivery.
On behalf of the Ministry, the Permanent Secretary for Employment, Mr Taito Waqa conducted an introductory session where he introduced the Minister and the Ministry’s new title.
He emphasized that the change in the title of the Ministry is indicative of Government’s vision of ensuring productive workplaces in Fiji.
“Employment is a priority, but employment has to be productive. We will do our best to improve the productive capacity of this Ministry and also of the labour market, both the private and the public sector.
“We look forward to the Minister’s leadership and guidance to add value to the Ministry’s policies and operations and toimprove the quality of work to boost the socio-economic development of this country,” Mr Waqa said.
The Senior Officials of the Ministry will conduct a thorough introduction of the core functions of each Strategic Business Unit of the Ministry on Monday before Mr Konrote begins his tour of the various offices located in Suva.
2. MINIMISE WATER USAGE- WAF ADVISES CUSTOMERS
THE Water Authority of Fiji will consider water rationing if a need arises and will advise customers accordingly.
WAF chief executive officer Opetaia Ravai said due to the drought the water catchment in Waimanu is now the main source of water by a large margin.
“The Savura stream is flowing less than 50 per cent of capacity and is now being topped up by water from the Waimanu by operating four pumps from there,” Mr Ravai said.
“To ensure smooth hydraulics on the intake, the Authority built what is called a coffer dam; sandbags rimming the intake area from the Waimanu that has created a pond which is now deep enough to protect the pumps,” Mr Ravai said.
Mr Ravai adds water conservation is necessary to maintain adequate water levels to deal with emergency situations, such as the current drought situation facing the country.
“We are now urging all customers to minimise the use of water and to try and save at least 10 litres a day,” he said.
Affected areas such as Lami is directly related to the amount of water that can be pumped from the catchment in Waimanu into Tamavua however the water being delivered by four pumps is sufficient for the time being.
3. GOVERNMENT RECOGNISES CONTRIBUTIONS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS TOWARDS ECONOMIC GROWTH
Government recognises the contribution of children living with special needs towards national growth in all forms including economic growth, social growth and health.
This was relayed by Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana at the 2014 Special Olympics National Games for Special Unified Athletes in Suva today.
“Special Olympics are considered the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities providing year-round training and competitions for more than 4.2million athletes in 170 countries,” Mr Delana said.
“Your participation today is proof to the fact that you are part of a world –wide movement of very special people as citizens of this universe,” Mr Delana said.
Mr Delana added that government recognises sustainable growth and will continue to channel substantive and consistent effort on our young people despite our status.
“Sports Development is one of the key platforms that are considered pivotal on our efforts to lay a solid foundation for our young people,” he said.
“Sports will continue to be a major vehicle for youth development in Fiji as we continue to recognise its contribution to Fiji’s economy, national unity and social inclusiveness,” he said.
Chairman of the Special Olympics Committee Bishwa Sidal commended government for their vision of including children with special needs in economic growth.
4. ITAUKEI INSTITUTE MEETS CULTURAL MAPPING TARGETS
The government’s approach known as cultural mapping program (CMP) aims to identify and confirm the way of life, culture and tradition belonging to a particular village and is copyrighted to help their identity.
Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Mr Savenaca Kaunisela said that government’s decision to adopt the Model Law addresses the protection of indigenous knowledge and expressions of culture.
“Cultural mapping is a tool used to identify resources of communities and involves mapping one’s culture such as intellectual property, special way of being or doing, purpose of one’s existence, special ‘unique’ story told and the reason for doing.
The program is being administered by the iTaukei Institute of Language and Culture and this year has targeted two provinces of Kadavu and Cakaudrove.
Mr Kaunisela said that the institute has mapped 136 villages under the program in the Northern and Eastern Divisions exceeding the target of 112 villages.
“The province of Cakaudrove has a rural population of 16,805, 15 Districts and 135 villages where mapping began in July 2013 with 38 villages and 97 villages were completed in June 2014.
“The Kadavu province mapping started in July and as at August 2014 covered 24 villages in 3 Districts,” Mr. Kaunisela said.
Another exercise that the Institute is undertaking is the Cultural Verification and combined with the Culturing mapping program will complete a Traditional knowledge and expressions of culture product (TKEC).
“Together with the verification exercise the Institute intends to fast track the CMP program to ensure that architects of the original cultural mapping can finalize the edited version to bring it to a closure with the audio, scripts and visuals signed off, completing a TKEC product.
“This exercise will be completed once all provinces and their villages have been culturally mapped and verified. The final product is registering and patenting of these TKEC products as their intellectual property (IP).
Cultural Verification started in 2013 with the provinces of Serua and Namosi and Serua province continued in 2014 and was completed in the first quarter covering five (5) Tikina and twenty four (24) villages.
In August the Verification team commenced in the Rewa province covering seven Tikina’s and forty five (45) villages, completing the target for 2014 of two (2) provinces to be verified.
5. AKBAR BRIEFED ON THE NEW PORTFOLIO
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Sofia Akbar has been briefed on the policies and reforms of the Ministry.
The briefing was provided this morning by the Permanent Secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta and the senior managers at the Ministry’s headquarters in Suva.
Following the briefing, Mrs Akbar was also taken for a tour to meet the staff of Department of Children and Poverty Alleviation based at Suva Street, Toorak.
While explaining about women’s programs, Director Women Mrs Arieta Moceica said the Ministry plays a key role in providing policy advice to government on gender development through research and policy.
“There are programs designed to alleviate poverty through social, economic and political empowerment of women. Women’s groups are assisted with various income generating projects under the livelihood programme and there is also provision for small and medium sized enterprises to Non-Government Organisations.
“Our legal and policy mandates are drawn from 2013 constitution, Roadmap, People’s Charter, Women’s Plan of Action (2010 to 2019) and also National Gender Policy. Fiji is signatory to international conventions that guide Ministry’s work, these are CEDAW, (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Beijing Platform for Action and Millennium Development Goal (MDG),” Mrs Moceica explained.
She also outlined the policy and legislative reforms that empower women and children, that which has been implemented by Bainimarama government.
“These are Employment Relations Promulgation 2007, Crime Decree 2009, Sentencing and Penalties Decree which provides stronger sentencing guidelines. Domestic Violence Decree, Child Welfare Decree and HIV/AIDs Decree. Fiji has also ratified and presented its 2nd, 3rd and 4th report to UN CEDAW Committee and the 5th CEDAW report is currently finalized. The Ministry’s budget has also increased by 300 percent from $200,000 in 2006 to $1.2 million in 2014, plus the $140,000 for UNFPA Reproductive Health Unit based within the Ministry.
“The National gender Policy will be rolled out as of next year and we also have requested for extra budget and it is really a holistic approach to mainstreaming gender across government ministries,” Mrs Moceica said.
Similarly, Assistant Director for Family Services Mrs Saleshni Naidu explained about the social protection and child welfare programs.
“The key programs are Poverty Benefit Scheme (PBS) that provides temporary allowances to destitute families. So far17,167 recipients are benefiting from this program and they also receive monthly $30 food voucher. The Care and Protection Program provides monthly cash grants to support disadvantaged children, todate there are 2,083 recipients. Expanded Food Voucher Programme for the pregnant mothers, $30 monthly food voucher is given to rural pregnant mothers for the nine months of pregnancy and first post natal month, currently there are 1003 recipients. Social Pension Scheme for those senior citizens who are 70 years and over without any superannuation funds qualify for the monthly $30 pension.
“There are 11,079 beneficiaries for the social pension and it would increase to $50 next year. The Bus fare and taxi fare concession is also administered by the Ministry and it has a budget of $150,000 and currently there are 3658 senior citizens with 3919 persons living with disabilities that benefit from this initiative.
“This year 20 Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) have been provided with grants and the Welfare Graduation Program that provides incentives for the recipients to venture into workfare. Total of 148 recipients have ventured into workfare. Assistance to fire victims is also provided, currently there are 110 families have been assisted,” Mrs Naidu said.
The Ministry’s child welfare programs are as follows: Residential Care (placement of Children who are in need of care in the nine Homes. Child Protection awareness programs, Juvenile justice and National Coordinating Committee on Children (NCCC).
6 . STAKEHOLDERS BRIEFED ON CURRENT DRY SPELL
The different agencies of Government were today briefed on the drought situation brought about by the current dry spell affecting the whole of Fiji.
The dry spell is driven by the potential EL Nino that had been trying to develop fully in the Pacific, since May 2014.
In opening the stakeholders meeting, Acting Permanent Secretary for Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Mr Inoke Wainiqolo reiterated the importance of working together.
In his presentation to the head of agencies, Director National Disaster Management, Mr Manasa Tagicakibau said the dry spell initially started from the Yasawa group before moving to mainland Western Vitilevu, to the Central, northern and finally the Eastern Division.
“This has dried up water sources particularly for settlements, villages, schools and nursing stations that are reliant on rural water supply, roof catchment and boreholes.
“Therefore, a collective approach is needed to enable Government to respond efficiently and effectively to the needs of communities and businesses, especially in rural and maritime areas, that are worst affected.
“This is important in minimizing risks on the national economy, agricultural production and on the health and education of the people, among other things,” Mr Tagicakibau reiterated.
Water Cartage Update
Mr Tagicakibau informed the forum that 15,603,920 litres of water have been distributed to communities currently affected by the dry spell Fiji wide costing Government around $917,949.00.
About 2,999,920 litres of water has been distributed to affected areas. There have been return trips for the supply of water to the Yasawas, Mamanuca Groups and Vatulele commencing from 31st July and carting of water is still continuing. The future plans for the Western Division zone will focus on the red zone areas namely, Yasawa, Navula, Naviti and Malolo.
The Division is coordinating with Water Authority of Fiji regarding the assessment and advice before attending to response. Over the week, water was carted to Serua/Galoa; Tailevu North and in Naitasiri totalling to 314,000 litres.
11,200,000 litres of water has been delivered to Southern Lau and the Lomaiviti group.
Water has been delivered to affected settlements and communities. More than 1,090,000 litres of water has been delivered. Another 60,000 litres of water is expected to be delivered to the maritime islands of Vanua Levu which includes Cikobia Isl.; Druadrua; Kia and Yadua Island.
161 schools have been affected by the current dry spell. The schools affected have not been closed and continue to open.
There are 20 health facilities have been affected, however it continues to be in operation. The Ministry of Health is looking at potential diseases that could arise from dry spells and potential droughts. An emergency plan is also likely to be developed to respond to community levels.
In the coming months, rainfall is predicted to be below average. The short term forecasts models suggest that it may rain over most parts of the country in the next few weeks but will be fleeting, lasting less than half a day.
The forum also agreed with the setting up of Divisional Taskforces to allow for better coordination of Governments response to the current situation.
Mr Tagicakibau is calling on the general public to use water sparingly in light of the prevailing weather patterns currently being experienced.
He has also urged the public to conserve energy by taking the necessary measures to minimize the use of electricity to lighten the load on the main FEA Grid.
7. MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO EASE PATIENT CARE
The Colonial War Memorial Hospital received medical supplies from the Vodafone Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH) Fiji Foundation to ease patient care and to ensure better service delivery.
The Medical Superintendent for CWM, Dr Jamesa Tudravu said the medical supplies which include three beds, shower chairs, wheel chairs, mobility equipment and other medical supplies will assist patients in mobility.
“These equipment will assist patients who have difficulty in walking and moving around. We have an admission rate of 20,000 a year at CWM and a lot of people need wheelchairs and beds. We will share the wheelchairs with other health centers,” Dr Tudravu said.
CWM is currently undergoing major renovations at its children’s ward, nurses’ quarters, dental lab and the new cardiac lab to upgrade equipment and medical services.
The Vodafone ATH Fiji Foundation executive, Ambalika Kutty said annually they receive $1million to do community work and they had recently donated similar items to Labasa hospital.
“In partnering with the Spinal Injury Association, we support hospitals and communities with high-tech mobility equipment. There is a need for 300 wheelchairs per day in hospitals and this donation will assist the staff to provide such care,” Ms Kutty said.
The Foundation have started subscription application where people can access short messages on health tips and mobilized 22 doctors to respond to health issues via text messages with Vodafone.