CAPTION: Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority Chief Executive Officer Jitoko Tikolevu with FBOA Executive member Zane Dean.
1. MINISTER KUBUABOLA SPEAKS ON GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS – Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola participated at the Sixth Astana Economic Forum this week which is being held in Astana, Kazakhstan from 23-25 May.
2. TRANSPORT SECTOR CRUCIAL FOR DEVELOPMENT –Government has recognised the transport sector for their contribution towards the development of the economy and the role it plays in serving all Fijians.
3. KUWAIT AND UNITE ARAB EMIRATES PLEDGE FUNDING SUPPORT: PIDF- The Government of the State of Kuwait and the Government of the United Arab have pledged USD$369,000 and USD$100,000 respectively towards Fiji hosting the Inaugural Meeting of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) from 5 to 7 August 2013 at the Sheraton Hotel in Denarau Island.
4. NYTC AGRICULTURAL TRAINEES ON MARINE REHABILITATION AND RESTORATION-Agricultural trainees from the National Youth Training Centre took spent a day on the coast of Nadroga for their programme on mangrove rehabilitation and coral restoration this week.
5. HEALTH INSPECTORS ENFORCEMENT TRAINING TO IMPLEMENT FOOD SAFETY REGULATIONS – Health inspectors and municipal workers from around the country attended a two day training this week on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) to better understand concepts and regulations.
1. MINISTER KUBUABOLA SPEAKS ON GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola participated at the Sixth Astana Economic Forum this week which is being held in Astana, Kazakhstan from 23-25 May.
He attended the meeting on behalf of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in his capacity as Chair of the Group of 77 plus China and delivered a statement at the opening session of the forum for the Group on Thursday May 23.
The Astana Economic Forum is an annual event which brings together eminent political leaders, prominent international experts and distinguished participants from around the world with a view to discuss and explore ways to address the problems of the global financial system and consider proposals for a quick and sustainable recovery from the ongoing world financial crisis.
In his statement, Minister Kubuabola said while developing countries did not cause the latest financial crisis, they are nonetheless severely affected by its adverse consequences that threaten their economic and social progress achieved during recent years, leading to increased poverty and inequality.
“The increasing interdependence of national economies in a globalising world has accentuated once again the importance of strengthening the role of the United Nations in global economic governance as well as a need to strengthen coordination within the United Nations system in order to promote sustained economic growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development,” Minister Kubuabola said.
“The Group of 77 and China has repeatedly called for a viable model of international financial architecture, one that reflects the realities of the 21st century, and gives developing countries an increased voice and representation in global economic governance.”
Minister Kubuabola added it was important that efforts to reform the international financial architecture be internationally coordinated and should lead to the full participation of developing countries in international financial and economic decision-making.
In his statement, Minister Kubuabola also reported on the discussions and outcomes of the G77 High Level Meeting of Eminent Persons that was held in Fiji on 7-9 May which focused on cooperation between developing countries through south-south and north-south cooperation.
In the margins of the forum, Minister Kubuabola also met his counterpart, Hon Erlan Idrissov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan.
The meeting discussed issues relating to the bilateral and multilateral relations between the two countries. They also explored some possible areas of cooperation between the two countries which will increase people to people exchanges and enhance their bilateral relations.
2. TRANSPORT SECTOR CRUCIAL FOR DEVELOPMENT
Government has recognised the transport sector for their contribution towards the development of the economy and the role it plays in serving all Fijians.
Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Mr Filimone Waqabaca relayed this at the Fiji Bus Operators Annual Convention that was held at Novotel in Lami today.
PS Waqabaca said Government’s responsibility in the transport sector involves workable policies, enforcing laws and the provision of basic transport infrastructure.
“The transport sector contributes quite significantly to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) specifically on land transportation which is around one per cent and has grown over the years,” Mr Waqabaca said.
“The sector has been a major source of employment and income for many of our people providing employment for drivers, mechanics, clerks. Apart from that the sector has also benefited those indirectly related to the industry.”
Mr Waqabaca said the transport sector provides a link to key social and economic sectors of the economy such as providing easy accessibility to education and other services.
“Government has for the first time allocated capital expenditure of more than $700million in the 2013 Budget; a bold step towards raising investment and growth and this represents 32 per cent of our budget,” Mr Waqabaca said.
He said this means that money has been set for infrastructural development projects and initiatives.
Government has assisted the bus industry in mitigating a major part of its repair and maintenance costs by improving the standard of roads around the country.
“With the restructure of the Department of National Roads into Fiji Roads Authority, government has established a platform or an agency that is directly responsible for future developments.”
Fiji Bus Operators Association president Mr Richard Lal said Government’s assistance during the period of unprecedented change and modernisation in the transport sector was much appreciated.
“Changes include modern buses and coaches and enhancing technology in the management industry,” Mr Lal said.
Mr Lal said the efforts of all bus operators in the country had encouraged them to continue serving the people of Fiji.
The one day convention will focus on issues like e-ticketing system, further engagement of the association with relevant stakeholders such as Land Transport Authority and the establishment of a permanent forum to raise these issues.
3. KUWAIT AND UNITED ARAB EMIRATES PLEDGE FUNDING SUPPORT: PIDF
The Government of the State of Kuwait and the Government of the United Arab have pledged USD$369,000 and USD$100,000 respectively towards Fiji hosting the Inaugural Meeting of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) from 5 to 7 August 2013 at the Sheraton Hotel in Denarau Island.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola made the announcement from Abu Dhabi and commended the two governments for their early support of the PIDF.
“I thank the Government of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates for showing their early support for the inauguration of the Pacific Islands Development Forum in such a generous way,” Minister Kubuabola said.
“It is an acknowledgment of their deep interest to partner with PSIDS in the sharing of development experiences through South-South cooperation.
“We look forward to working with them for the purpose of engaging leaders from key sectors in implementing green economic policies in PSIDS.”
Minister Kubuabola added, “A changing global and regional environment requires new and innovative approaches to problem solving. Fiji’s successful foreign policy to engage with the rest of the world has provided the PSIDS with a voice among new friends who have already made progress in their pathway to sustainable development”.
Leaders from public and private sectors and civil society from the twenty PSIDS and self-governing territories are expected at the Inaugural Meeting of the PIDF.
The call for a Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) was endorsed by the Leaders at the 2012 “Engaging with the Pacific” meeting in August last year in Nadi.
Leaders saw PIDF as the opportunity for all national players in Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) – Governments, Private Sectors and Civil Society to unite in discussing and identifying options that will ensure sustainable development outcomes by establishing green PSIDS economies. A green economy is one that results in improved human well being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
4. NYTC AGRICULTURAL TRAINEES ON MARINE REHABILITATION AND RESTORATION
Agricultural trainees from the National Youth Training Centre took spent a day on the coast of Nadroga for their programme on mangrove rehabilitation and coral restoration this week.
The trainees started at Korotogo village coast where they planted about one hundred and fifty mangrove plants.
According to tutor Tevita Nakibo, the trip was part of their practical work as well as community outreach.
“We are so glad to have the support of the coastal villages where we can always carry out our programme,” Mr Nakibo said.
The new plants were planted as an extension to the mangroves planted by former NYTC trainees that are now fully grown.
The trainees later dipped into the sea to plant new corals at Vatu o Lailai coastal reef where they also study the restricted area which has been on ‘taboo’ for eleven years.
Village guide and former secondary school teacher, Mr Apakuki Tasere explained that taking care of marine life and reef and its restoration is their priority.
“ This is a communal commitment and we have witnessed how our restricted area has regained abundance in these eleven years,” said Mr Tasere.
The National Youth Training Centre is grateful to have the support of Organisation Industrial Spiritual and Cultural Advancement [OISCA] which runs the programme.
Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary, Mr Joseva Sania is encouraging young people to take good care of the resources that they own especially in making commitment to its rehabilitation and restoration.
5. HEALTH INSPECTORS ENFORCEMENT TRAINING TO IMPLEMENT FOOD SAFETY REGULATIONS
Health inspectors and municipal workers from around the country attended a two day training this week on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) to better understand concepts and regulations.
HACCP training is a internationally recognised medium that is supposed to be in place by 2015 to ensure that food safety is maintained at every processing outlet or eatery.
Ministry of Health head of Food Unit, Mr Dip Chand said this will require companies that export produce to overseas countries to meet the requirements.
“We need to train our local health inspectors and municipal councillors to have more knowledge which will enable them to enforce and implement at a local level,” Mr Chand said.
“We are also involving municipal councils because most of these eateries fall in the municipal areas.”
Mr Chand said the training was baseline capacity building and they plan to involve companies to inform them of the requirements HACCP.
Meanwhile, the Food Unit is currently in the process of regulating restaurant grading around the country.
“We have given a period of two months for restaurants to comply with the requirements of restaurant grading,” Mr Chand said.
Mr Chand adds the Health Ministry is providing this incentive to business owners to reflect quality services and encourage food safety for every citizen.
The two day workshop ended on Friday and facilitators are optimistic that through this medium food safety will be practiced around the country.