1. FIJI ROADS AUTHORITY JOIN FORCES WITH RURAL AND MARITIME DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY – In a bid to provide efficient and effective road services, the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) will now work with the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development. Prime Minister’s Office permanent secretary and FRA chairman, Mr Pio Tikoduadua, said the development of rural and maritime areas, which includes remote outer islands, was crucial to Government, which was constantly looking at ways to provide better service to these parts.
2. MINISTER FOR HEALTH MEETS APOLLO GROUP IN NEW DELHI– Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma, who is currently in India, met with Indian health care providers as part of the Fijian government’s efforts to improve medical and health care facilities.
3. BETTER SERVICES PROVIDED BY CAPITAL CITY – The public should be able to access better utilities after the opening of the newly refurbished Terry Walk corridor and public convenience facilities in Suva. At the opening formalities, Local Government and Urban Development minister Samuela Saumatua said the corridor is a achievement of Suva City Council’s capital development project.
4. SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARENESS IN NORTH– Public Service Commission (PSC) permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand has once again highlighted the importance of practicing service excellence at all levels of Government.
5. WORK BEGINS ON DIGITISATION OF ARCHIVAL MATERIAL– Ministry of Information, National Archives and Library Services of Fiji permanent secretary Ms Sharon Smith-Johns is currently in Canberra to begin work on the digitisation of archival materials kept at the National Archives of Fiji.
6. LOOK TOWARDS ASIA: FIJI SUGAR URGED– Fiji sugar should look towards the Asian markets in the long term, should pricing continue to be a problem with our current buyers, the European Union.
7. AMBASSADOR THOMPSON VISITS WOMEN LEADERS IN PEACE BUILDING– South Pacific women studying at the Eastern Mennonite University(EMU) in Virginia together with the university hosted Fiji’s Ambassador to the United States, Winston Thompson last weekend.
8. SOLICITOR GENERAL’S OFFICE VET ALL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS– All Government contracts are to be vetted by the Solicitor General’s Office during negotiation stage and prior to its execution.
9. PARTNERSHIP TO BUILD A SAFE HOME IN FIJI– Fiji will soon have a new Safe Home to provide hope and support to women and children who are affected by domestic violence.
1. FIJI ROADS AUTHORITY JOIN FORCES WITH RURAL AND MARITIME DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY
In a bid to provide efficient and effective road services, the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) will now work with the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development.
Prime Minister’s Office permanent secretary and FRA chairman, Mr Pio Tikoduadua, said the development of rural and maritime areas, which includes remote outer islands, was crucial to Government, which was constantly looking at ways to provide better service to these parts.
The two entities today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) whereby they will be sharing manpower and other resources in the maritime and rural areas.
FRA chief executive officer, Mr Neil Cook said through this agreement, maintenance staff engaged by them will be transferred to the ministry with the funding provided by the authority.
“The FRA will fund the ministry for these staff and it will work with them on plant and equipment needed on each island,” Mr Cook said.
The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, he said, will undertake daily maintenance of roads to ensure the roads are kept open for the travelling public.
This move was necessitated after FRA decided it would be viable to work with the ministry rather than engage fulltime staff for maintenance works needed in these parts.
“The FRA is working with the ministry on programme work and identifying needs as we will still be involved in the heavy maintenance work where equipments such as larger excavators and loaders are needed,” Mr Cook said.
Mr Tikoduadua said this is a good platform where the two agencies can work together to continuously improve services.
Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development permanent secretary Mr Filipe Alifereti said they looked forward to working with the FRA.
2. MINISTER FOR HEALTH MEETS APOLLO GROUP IN NEW DELHI
Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma, who is currently in India, met with Indian health care providers as part of the Fijian government’s efforts to improve medical and health care facilities.
Dr Sharma was introduced to the advanced health facilities and equipments utilized by the Apollo hospitals group during his meeting with executives of the Apollo Hospital in Indraprastha, New Delhi.
He was also briefed on the international outreach by Apollo hospitals worldwide and given an overview on the broad health planning models that it has carried out in developing healthcare in Africa and Asia and how it could be applied in Fiji.
Dr Sharma said the Health Ministry is working on options to further advance Fiji’s medical needs in both medical and technical knowledge and skill transfer for Fiji’s health workers.
“It is imperative to reduce costs in health care services and maintain efficient health care in Fiji,” he said.
“Working in collaboration with reputable hospital groups will support Fiji’s health system inject a transformation in health provision in Fiji.
“We have discussed the scope for partnership with Apollo Hospitals for Oncology, Urology and Telemedicine network in Fiji.”
The Apollo Hospitals group have expressed their appreciation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the Fiji National University in April this year.
Fiji’s High Commissioner to India, Mr Yogesh Karan said that Apollo Group is expected to launch the first Telemedicine Center with Fiji National University as a part of the MoU.
“The Apollo Hospital Group is keen to share their expertise and experience in Tele Health Services for a wide network in Fiji,” said Fiji High Commissioner to India Mr Yogesh Karan.
High commissioner Mr Karan and first secretary, Mr Alifereti Naioko, accompanied Dr Sharma for this meeting.
As part of his visit to India, Dr Sharma also visited the National Rural Health Mission- which is part of India’s national health set up for rural population, with its key component being the provision of every village in the country with a trained female community health activist to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.
Dr Sharma will also be meeting executives of traditional medicine such as Ayurveda and other research institutions on herbal medicines in India.
3. BETTER SERVICES PROVIDED BY CAPITAL CITY
The public should be able to access better utilities after the opening of the newly refurbished Terry Walk corridor and public convenience facilities in Suva.
At the opening formalities, Local Government and Urban Development minister Samuela Saumatua said the corridor is a achievement of Suva City Council’s capital development project.
“This project will directly benefit the city dwellers to access safer facilities and improved sanitary services for the general public especially for people living with disabilities,” minister Saumatua said.
“This project is an enhancement of the city’s liveability, vibrancy and urban landscape that promotes investment by the business community and provides employment opportunities for people.”
Minister Saumatua said that the development also promotes climate change adaption and resilience by strengthening the retaining wall and cleaning up the Nabukalou creek.
With provisions to improve municipal facilities, Minister Saumatua urged all citizens to take ownership of this landmark and participate in cost sharing to assist the council in similar projects.
Suva City Council special administrator Mr Chandu Umaria acknowledged Government and various stakeholders for assisting the council in continuing to beautify the capital city.
Mr Umaria said this development will contribute to the economy and promote Suva as a tourism hub.
“About 45 cruise liners arrived in Suva in 2012 and a total of 29 cruise liners have come here until May this year. We anticipate a total of 50-60 cruise liner arrivals this year,” Mr Umaria said.
Mr Umaria has called on all citizens to take pride in the city’s amenities to help keep Suva clean and crime free.
The rehabilitation project of Terry Walk began in 2011 with a cost of $131,970 which was followed by the refurbishment of the public convenience in 2012 and cost $196,322.
Other developments anticipated for the capital city include construction of roof covers at the Suva market and the upgrading of mini markets.
4. SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARENESS IN NORTH
Public Service Commission (PSC) permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand has once again highlighted the importance of practicing service excellence at all levels of Government.
Speaking at a two day awareness workshop on service excellence awards in the North, which ended yesterday, Mr Chand said civil servants should be at the forefront of taking ownership of service excellence.
“Service Excellence is about enhancing the systems and process of how work is done in an organization to better facilitate and deliver on service. In this case, it is important that Service Excellence awareness is carried out at Divisional levels so that it is driven from that level,” Mr Chand said.
The awareness programme focused on civil service reform initiatives in particular focusing on service excellence as an initiative under the strategic platform of productivity management within the reform programme.
Other issues discussed during the workshop included the components of the Service Excellence Awards framework, the evaluation process and identifying best practices of public service particularly in the Northern Division.
5. WORK BEGINS ON DIGITISATION OF ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
Ministry of Information, National Archives and Library Services of Fiji permanent secretary Ms Sharon Smith-Johns is currently in Canberra to begin work on the digitisation of archival materials kept at the National Archives of Fiji.
Ms Smith-Johns has met with a team from DamSmart, an Australian digital assets management specialist, which has been contracted to undertake the digitisation and restoration process of Fiji’s historical footage from the early 40’s.
“DamSmart uses state-of-the-art digitising, archiving, storage and access technologies to produce a highly-efficient media migration workflow for video, film and audio. That is exactly the type of expertise we need in order to restore and digitise some of the unique footage that we have in our archives,” Ms Smith-Johns said.
According to Ms Smith-Johns, the project is scheduled to commence next Tuesday (June 11).
She said the restoration and digitisation of some 2,400 priceless historical audio-visual footage has been long overdue and needs to be done urgently to ensure the safety of Fiji’s archival heritage both in terms of culture and documentary heritage.
“Converting our archival footage to digital format is the only way to preserve years of Fiji’s irreplaceable history and this is something that every Fijian should be proud of,” said PS Smith-Johns.
Ms Smith-Johns said Government has allocated under $1million for this task, which will be complete by November this year.
Meanwhile, Ms Smith-Johns also paid a courtesy visit to Fiji’s High Commission in Canberra and discussed recent development’s taking place not only at the Ministry of Information but also in Fiji.
First secretary and acting head of mission of Fiji’s High Commission to Australia, Ms Cheryl Brown-Irava expressed her appreciation to the visit and welcomed the opportunity for discussions and updates by PS Information.
“Thank you for doing us the honor of visiting the High Commission – we are very grateful,” Ms Brown-Irava said.
6. LOOK TOWARDS ASIA: FIJI SUGAR URGED
Fiji sugar should look towards the Asian markets in the long term should pricing continues to be a problem with our current buyers, the European Union.
The comments were made by Australia’s representative to the 43rd Council Session of the International Sugar Organisation (ISO), Mr Peter Breguet during a workshop sighting analysis and global trends in consumption around the world.
“The world population is forecast to grow at 65.0 million people per annum, with a large part of this growth to be focussed in Asia over the next 50 years,” Mr Breguet said.
“Population growth and a burgeoning middle class in Asia will inevitably lead to increased sugar demand and producers in our Asia – Pacific region are well placed to meet the demand growth is Asia.”
He added that in the short term there is a surplus in sugar production due to recent high prices stimulating growth.
“However, there have been big stock reductions in recent years, and we believe the market could be back in deficit quickly but in the long term we are optimistic for prices due to the lack of current investment in new production areas,” Mr Breguet said.
“Asia will continue to be a deficit area as statistics reveal that in the next 20 – 50 years, Asia will become the biggest consumers of sweeteners.”
Fiji currently sells all of its sugar to the European Union. However, with the limited price offered for Fijian sugar, Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) could soon look at other alternatives especially with growing interests by buyers for Fijian sugar.
The 43rd Council Session of the ISO was concluded yesterday where a range of issues were discussed over the three day meeting including information sharing among ISO members on technology and other sugar related matt
7. AMBASSADOR THOMPSON VISITS WOMEN LEADERS IN PEACE BUILDING
South Pacific women studying at the Eastern Mennonite University(EMU) in Virginia together with the university hosted Fiji’s Ambassador to the United States, Winston Thompson last weekend.
During his three hour visit, Ambassador Mr Thompson who was accompanied by his wife heard presentations from the 16 women leaders from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville and West Papua about their work and studies at the university.
Mr Thompson also met with EMU executives including president, Loren Swartzendruber and director for the Centre for Justice Peacebuilding, Lynn Roth. He was also given an overview of the partnership between the two institutions through the Women’s Peacebuilding Leadership Program director, Janice Jenner.
WPL scholarship recipient, Tarusila Bradburgh said she appreciated the opportunity to meet with the ambassador and Mrs Thompson to talk about her work with youth councils in the Pacific, alongside her Pacific sisters.
“The fact that they drove down from Washington encouraged us to use the time to converse with them about our issues and the work we do back in our home countries and region,” Ms Bradburgh said.
” I believe they were given an insight into the passion and commitment with which the women did their work and how they valued the opportunity to strengthen their capacities in peace building ” she said.
8. SOLICITOR GENERAL’S OFFICE VET ALL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
All Government contracts are to be vetted by the Solicitor General’s Office during negotiation stage and prior to its execution.
Public Service Commission (PSC) permanent secretary, Mr Parmesh Chand has issued a circular regarding this to all permanent secretaries and heads of departments.
“As a Government policy, all contracts in the public service will have to be first vetted by the Office of the Solicitor General. This is to ensure that Government’s legal recourse and exposure are properly considered and protected,” Mr Chand said.
9. PARTNERSHIP TO BUILD A SAFE HOME IN FIJI
Fiji will soon have a new Safe Home to provide hope and support to women and children who are affected by domestic violence.
Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta confirmed that this facility will take shape through the Ministry’s partnership with the Greek Orthodox Church in Fiji.
Dr Koroivueta met with the Archbishop of New Zealand and Pacific for the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Amfilochios at the ministry’s headquarters in Suva yesterday to pursue the discussions on building the facility.
“The Ministry is grateful for this partnership with the Greek Orthodox Church to establish a Safe Home for women and children in Fiji who are affected by domestic violence. This will be the first Safe Home for Fiji and it will be administered by the ministry of social welfare,” Dr Koroivueta said.
“It will also provide educational assistance and contribute towards the physical, emotional and spiritual development of children.”
Dr Koroivueta said the facility will ensure the safety of women and children who usually do not have a place to turn to for help during cases of domestic violence.
“There are cases where women are trapped in their own homes and continue to live in fear, with extreme physical and emotional traumatisation that leads to greater degree of pain and suffering, sometimes resulting in the loss of innocent lives,” he said.
“Now this can be prevented as the new safe home promises support for women and their children, giving them the freedom to opt for a safe and violence free life.”
The proposed site for the safe home is in Nadi and the ministry and church will work together to ensure successful completion of this important development.
The Greek Orthodox Church was registered in Fiji in 2010 and has its base at Sabeto, Nadi.
The Church has also got orphanages in many parts of the world namely in India, Australia, United States of America and New Zealand.