CAPTION: Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni during her visit to northern division.
1. GOVERNMENT INJECTS FUNDS FOR WOMEN OF BUA – In the bid to create economic opportunities through developing the resources and skills for women in the Bua province, the Ministry of Women in partnership with provincial office in Bua have constructed a Women’s Resource Centre in Raralevu, Nabouwalu.
2. 1831 APPLICATIONS RECEIVED FOR SOCIAL PENSION – More than 1800 applications for government’s social pension assistance have been received through the Ministry of Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation.
3. FIJI CROP AND LIVESTOCK COUNCIL LAUNCHES SECRETARIAT – Non-sugar agricultural sectors in the country can now expect increased assistance after the launch today of the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC) Secretariat.
4. PREPARE CHILDREN WELL FOR SCHOOL – Schools all over the country will open on Monday, 21st January and parents and guardians are requested to prepare their children well for the first school term of 2013.
5. MINISTER LUVENI VISITS GOVERNMENT PROJECTS IN NORTH – The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni is on 3 days tour to the northern division this week. Her visit to Bua, Labasa and Savusavu began yesterday and will end on Saturday.
6. CLOSING DATES FOR RECOUNTS – Students and parents of those who sat for the Fiji Seventh Form and Fiji School Certificate Examination are advised to take heed of the closing dates for recounts.
7. 600 SEWING MACHINES FROM CHINA – A total of 600 sewing machines will be donated to Ministry of Women by the government of People’s Republic of China.
8. PSC Issues New Policies – The Public Service Commission (PSC) today issued two new policies, to strengthen the monitoring of civil service performance and ensure the effectiveness of reform initiatives.
9. ACP Sugar Group undertakes key lobbying mission to the EU – The ACP Sugar Group, led by the Deputy Prime Minister of Swaziland, the Hon. Senator ThembaMasuku, completed an important lobbying mission to the EU in Brussels on 15 January 2013.
10. MINISTER URGES PARENTS & GUARDIANS TO SEND STUDENTS TO SCHOOL – The acting Minister for Education Viliame Naupoto has reiterated the need for parents to send their children to school from the first day.
1 GOVERNMENT INJECTS FUNDS FOR WOMEN OF BUA
In the bid to create economic opportunities through developing the resources and skills for women in the Bua province, the Ministry of Women in partnership with provincial office in Bua have constructed a Women’s Resource Centre in Raralevu, Nabouwalu.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni visited the Bua Women’s Resource Centre yesterday and was impressed to know that the construction is near completion and is expected to be opened in the coming weeks.
“The women resource centre provides the platform for women to venture into income generating activities for women. The centre will operate with One Centre One Product concept”, Dr Luveni said.
The construction of the Centre started in October last year and the total investment is $32,000 of which $22,000 was provided by the ministry and 10,000 was funded by the provincial council in Bua. The Ministry has also appointed a full time women interest officer in Nabouwalu who will be responsible for initiating income generating projects by working together with women’s group in Bua.
The President of Soqosoqo Vakamarama Bua Mrs Laisa Lewanavanua expressed her gratitude to the government for its commitment to the development of women in Fiji.
“The Bua Women’s Resource Centre is the first infrastructure developed and dedicated to women’s progress in this province. The centre has given us hope to think confidently in terms of using our resources and skills to improve our livelihood. In terms of the One Centre One Product approach, we will focus on producing Virgin Coconut Oil, (VCO) and soap along with handicrafts as main products for our income generating. We will start production in small scale and look forward to go commercial on the products with good quality and consistency.
“We thank the Minister for Women, for her frequent visit to northern division and initiating projects to benefit the women. This is the only government that has walked the talk, the development of Bua women’s centre is demonstration of this commitment,” she said.
Similarly, the Provincial Administrator Bua Mr Inoke Tagicakibau said the centre will complement the government’s Northern Development Program.
“There are untapped resources in Bua and the women resource centre will unlock the opportunities for women to come out of their zones and start looking at their roles in food security and poverty alleviation. The women in northern division need an exposure as most of the time decision making is left to the men. The women centre advocates the need for greater women participation in national development,” Mr Tagicakibau added.
2 1831 APPLICATIONS RECEIVED FOR SOCIAL PENSION
More than 1800 applications for government’s social pension assistance have been received through the Ministry of Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation.
Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said these 1831 applications were made by senior citizens from the 4 divisions around the country.
“In the last two weeks we have received 1831 applications and I think this has been made as Social Pension Scheme covers anybody who is 70 years and above and is not receiving any form of superannuation fund. Out of this a total of 329 applications are from the northern division”.
“Criteria is clear and people are encouraged to fill in the forms, attach their birth certificate and two passport photo and have it application endorsed by a renowned community leader or civil servant,” Minister Luveni said.
The application forms are available at all the social welfare offices and senior citizens are encouraged to apply for the pension.
“We are targeting 9000 people 70 years and above to be assisted under the Social Pension Scheme. Government is pleased to put in place that will benefit the senior citizens and we would like them to fully take advantage of this assistance that is provided,” she added.
Last week, the Ministry had signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) to screen applications to ensure there is no double dipping.
3 FIJI CROP AND LIVESTOCK COUNCIL LAUNCHES SECRETARIAT
Non-sugar agricultural sectors in the country can now expect increased assistance after the launch today of the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC) Secretariat.
The sectors that make up the FCLC include the Pig, Dairy, Beef, Sheep/Goat, Root Crop, Ginger, Kava, Honey, Fruit, Salad Vegetables and Coconut Associations as well as Food Processors.
The FCLC Secretariat will be based in Lautoka and manned by 3 staffs led by a chief executive officer.
The Council’s interim chairman and piggery farmer Simon Cole said they have secured funding for the Secretariat from the European Union (EU).
“The EU funded ITC project is providing the resources to establish the FCLC Secretariat and technical expertise to help us sustain our next phase of development for the benefit of the farmers of Fiji.
The IT services and mobile-based applications will be the initial steps the Council plans to introduce to farmers and allow them develop a phone based membership system.
“The FCLC is all about the opportunity for all non-sugar farmers in Fiji to have a special representation. This has been in the works now from 2 years. We were asked by the then minister for agriculture Joketani Cokanasiga to form the council to bring farmers into this process because too much of agriculture planning was done top down,” Cole said.
“These associations will have a representative each in the Council,” he said.
Non-sugar farmers have been contributing to Fiji’s export sector for many years.
“These famers provided huge amount of employment for the nations and contributed significantly to our GDP, export and most importantly food security for Fiji,” he said.
Meanwhile Mr Cole also accepted 3 computers donated by Government for the new Secretariat today.
4 PREPARE CHILDREN WELL FOR SCHOOL
Schools all over the country will open on Monday, 21st January and parents and guardians are requested to prepare their children well for the first school term of 2013.
“Schools will officially open on 21st January whereby boarding students will be enrolled into their respective schools while those attending day schools will start on the 22nd of January. I am requesting parents and guardians to prepare their children well for classes. Stationeries and school uniform should one of the priorities for parents,” said the Ministry of Education permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal.
While school equipment is a priority, students must also be prepared mentally and spiritually for the start of a new school year.
“Parents must also prepare their children who are ‘first timers’ as those in class one into the school on what to expect. Tell them that the school is a safe and secure environment and that they will not have to fear anything. Tell them that there are a lot of students just like them who will be attending formal classes for the first time. Tell them that they can meet and make new friends in school. Tell them that the school is place where they can have a lot of fun and the teacher is their best friend who they can confide in,” added Dr Lal.
“I am also reminding students attending boarding schools to be punctual to school”.
Meanwhile, teachers, students and parents are also reminded that the Day Light Saving ends on the 20th of January which is Sunday.
5 MINISTER LUVENI VISITS GOVERNMENT PROJECTS IN NORTH
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni is on 3 days tour to the northern division this week. Her visit to Bua, Labasa and Savusavu began yesterday and will end on Saturday.
The official visit began yesterday with Minister visiting the project site for the new Bua Women’s Resource Centre. A $32,000 project that is near completion and expected to be opened in March this year. The minister also had discussions with Soqosoqo Vakamarama Bua on income generating projects for Bua women.
“My trip to northern division will cover Bua, Savusavu and Labasa. My discussions with the Bua women’s group have been successful. The women have shown great interest in coordinating their income generating activities, once the centre opens. Keeping in line with our aim to have One Centre One Product the Bua women are determined to pursue the production and marketing of Virgin Coconut Oil as their major product,” she said.
Today the Minister will visit Naleba Youth Centre which has been eyed as potential site for the development of Fiji’s very own Barefoot College.
“The Naleba Training Centre is earmarked to be developed as the Barefoot College covering Fiji and Pacific Region. This facility has been kindly given to us by the Ministry of Youth. During the site visit pictures of the infrastructure will be taken and send over it to the Barefoot College in India to give them a fair idea on the infrastructural development. The College, once developed will train rural people, both women and youths as solar engineers,” she said.
The minister will also have a meeting with social welfare officers and women interest officers in the northern division.
“I will have discussions with them in regards to the plans we have for this year, based on the Annual Corporate Plan 2013.”
On Friday, the Minister will officiate two important projects for women in Savusavu. The first is ground breaking ceremony for women’s handicraft centre for rural women and opening of a sewing training centre.
“The handicraft craft centre will be located close to the Savusavu market. This is specifically for women from rural areas around Savusavu to have a facility to display, market and sell their goods. The centre will also provide training in handicraft and small business skills development.
“I will also be opening a women’s sewing training centre, a project that is coordinated by the Assemblies of God. The Ministry in partnership with Courts Fiji Limited would be providing sewing machines to the Centre. The objective is to train single mothers and able bodied women assisted under social welfare program and assist them to venture into income generating,” Dr Luveni added.
6 CLOSING DATES FOR RECOUNTS
Students and parents of those who sat for the Fiji Seventh Form and Fiji School Certificate Examination are advised to take heed of the closing dates for recounts.
“I am advising students and parents to take heed of the closing dates for recounts so as not to be disappointed when lodging late applications,” said the Permanent Secretary for Education Dr Brij Lal.
The closing date for recount for the Form Seven Examination is on Friday, 25th of January while recount for the Form Six Examination is on Friday, 15th of February.
Applications for recounts are to be lodged with the Ministry of Education Examination Office at Selbourne Street in Suva.
7 600 SEWING MACHINES FROM CHINA
A total of 600 sewing machines will be donated to Ministry of Women by the government of People’s Republic of China.
This confirmation comes from the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni’s discussions with women groups in Bua yesterday. She said the 600 sewing machines will be provided to women groups particularly those who have lodged their requests with the ministry.
“Whole of Bua province has the sewing machines, however in Cakaudrove province there are still some villages that don’t have it. In the next two days there are 600 sewing machines arriving from China. The idea is for all the villages in Fiji to have two sewing machines each.
“The sewing machines have multiple economic benefits, women can develop their sewing skills, make school uniforms for the children and their families, generate income as well,” she said.
The official handing over ceremony of the sewing machines from the Chinese Embassy is expected to be held next week on Monday 21st January 2013.
Last year the Ministry has distributed over 1900 sewing machines and assessment shows that these women groups have benefited by not only revived their women’s group but are able to start tailoring businesses and contribute towards their household income.
8 PSC Issues New Policies
The Public Service Commission (PSC) today issued two new policies, to strengthen the monitoring of civil service performance and ensure the effectiveness of reform initiatives.
With the issuance of the Compliance and Monitoring Policy and Evaluation Policy, PSC’s Compliance, Monitoring and Evaluation (CME) Unit will oversee how Ministries and Departments are applying the Commission’s delegated powers, policy decisions and reform initiatives.
Public Service Commission permanent secretary said that quarterly reports will be provided to the Commission on how Ministries and Departments have been complying to the respective workplace policies and procedures.
“They will be conducting pre-assessment interviews, inspections, surveys and reports to evaluate the impact of policies and identify outcomes on the performance status of Ministries and Departments.”
Under the Compliance and Monitoring Policy, PSC staff will be checking on how policies, rules and regulations are being implemented service wide. The Evaluation Policy will see assessment reports being prepared on the impact of the Commission’s guidelines.
Both these policies are meant to bring about improvements in accountability, performance and professionalism in Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
9 ACP Sugar Group undertakes key lobbying mission to the EU
The ACP Sugar Group, led by the Deputy Prime Minister of Swaziland, the Hon. Senator ThembaMasuku, completed an important lobbying mission to the EU in Brussels on 15 January 2013.
The Deputy Prime Minister was accompanied by the Bureau of the ACP Sugar Subcommittee comprising Ambassadors from Guyana, Fiji, Mauritius, Swaziland, Ethiopia and Zambia. Fiji’s envoy to the European Union Ambassador Peceli Vocea represented Fiji at the meet.
H.E. Ambassador Vocea and Counsellor Singh represented Fiji as members of the ACP delegation. The delegation met with the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Dacian Cioloş, and with Permanent Representatives and Ambassadors from Italy, Slovenia, Sweden, Latvia and Ireland. Ireland holds the current Presidency of the European Union.
As the negotiations on yet another reform of the sugar policy of the European Union reach a critical phase in Brussels, the ACP Sugar Group is carrying a vital political message to the EU on behalf of all ACP countries and Least Developed Countries whose economies and people are dependent on sugar exports to the EU market.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s message echoed the ACP position on EU sugar reform, which also recognizes that the operations of European Full Time Refiners represent an important market outlet for ACP raw sugar. “The maintenance of those operations is of key importance to us”, he noted, adding that, “if necessary, measures should be considered to support this part of the market, but naturally, we cannot support any measures which could compromise the preferences afforded to ACP and LDC sugar producers”.
The ACP Group has consistently pressed the EU to have an orderly and balanced sugar market which would offer the ACP suppliers a commercially attractive price and sustainable export earnings on a predictable long term basis to support our industry.
The Deputy Prime Minister underlined that in order for the modernisation and expansion programmes in the sugar sector to bear fruit and contribute to the development of the ACP economies, “we need an additional period of five years” of stability in the European policy and market.
An agreement on the future of the EU Common Agricultural Policy by the relevant EU institutions is not expected until later this year.
10 MINISTER URGES PARENTS & GUARDIANS TO SEND STUDENTS TO SCHOOL
The acting Minister for Education Viliame Naupoto has reiterated the need for parents to send their children to school from the first day.
Minister Naupoto made the comments following his visit to schools in the western division and noted the quick rehabilitation and reconstruction of affected schools.
“I request parents to please send your children to school from the first day of the year,” he urged.
“Government together with donor agencies and international partners are working around the clock to make sure that schools are ready for the new school year and parents must play their part in sending their children to school from the first day of the year.”
School will start on January 21st and even though repair works are being carried out, provisions and arrangements have been made so that students’ education is not affected.