CAPTION: Acting Minister for Defence Captain Timoci Lesi Natuva with head of stakeholders at the commissioning of 4 new x – ray machines in Nadi.
1. HIGH TECH X-RAY MACHINES BOOST AIRPORT SECURITY– The Fijian Government’s commitment towards strengthening Fiji’s borders and gateways got a boost today with the commissioning of four new x–ray machines at the Nadi International Airport.
2. MORE VOTERS REGISTER– The third phase of the electronic voter registration or EVR, organised by the Elections Office has registered an estimated twenty eight thousand, five hundred and seventy six (28, 576) voters in the provinces of Ba, Naitasiri, Macuata and Rewa.
3. CORRUPTION TRAINING FOR LTA– The Land Transport Authority took its officers on a corruption control drill on how best to handle and avoid corrupt activities in their work places.
4. NEW MARKET EXTENSION TO EMPOWER WOMEN IN BUSINESS – The Labasa Town Council has adopted a new approach of empowering women to be part of the business community through the opening of new market stalls later this week.
5. CASH BOOST FOR CREST AGRICULTURE SHOW– The Ministry of Agriculture organised Crest Agriculture Show 2013 received a timely boost of $5000 from traditional supporters, the Fiji Development bank as part of its ongoing commitment to develop the agriculture sector in Fiji.
1. HIGH TECH X-RAY MACHINES BOOST AIRPORT SECURITY
The Fijian Government’s commitment towards strengthening Fiji’s borders and gateways got a boost today with the commissioning of four new x–ray machines at the Nadi International Airport.
These new technology enhances efforts of the state to modernise equipment processes and systems that will assist border security officers better facilitate safety travels for the public.
In commissioning the new machines, acting Minister for Defense Mr Timoci Lesi Natuva said the machines, which cost government $750,000 are stationed at the Nadi international airport and puts Fiji on par with other international airports such as Hong Kong and Korea.
“These machines are state-of-the-art and provide us with a new and upgraded line of defence against the importation of contraband and illegal items into Fiji,” Mr Natuva said.
“Every incoming passenger will have their luggage screened in a manner that complies with the latest international standards, which Fiji is committed to meet.”
Mr Natuva said these international instruments will provide the impetus for better and wider coverage of contraband and illegal items.
In May this year, the Immigration Department launched a new system called ‘Integrated Border Management Systems (IBMS)’ which allows quicker access to information on individual arriving passengers.
“Now, we are here to commission the updated Inbound Baggage Screening System – another measure which indicates the Government’s commitment to protect our borders,” Mr Natuva said.
“ Everyone in Fiji can be assured that from today, we are all more secure.”
Mr Natuva added that the Nadi International Airport would undergo a major refurbishment program later in the year to upgrade it to international standards because some of the present facilities date back to the 1960s and are inadequate to cater for today’s demands.
“So this upgrade will be good for passengers using the airport and good for those who work here,” Mr Natuva said.
The Ministry of Defence, National Security and Immigration have collaborated with government stakeholders to purchase the latest equipment for the airport including with the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority, the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji, Airports Fiji Limited and the support from the Ministry of Defence, National Security and Immigration.
2. MORE VOTERS REGISTER
The third phase of the electronic voter registration or EVR, organised by the Elections Office has registered an estimated twenty eight thousand, five hundred and seventy six (28, 576) voters in the provinces of Ba, Naitasiri, Macuata and Rewa.
However indications are that more people are yet to be registered in these provinces, according to Elections office acting principal secretary Ms Asenaca Kolinivala.
“We found out that most voters in these provinces still need to be registered because of the high population count and the remoteness of some of these areas,” Ms Kolinivala said during a radio talk-show.
“We are happy to see that so many Fijians managed to register on this third round of registration which is more than the target for the second round of the EVR.”
Ms Kolinivala said they plan to set up permanent voter registration centers around the country to register people who have not participated in the EVR process and for those who will be turning 18 soon or before elections in September 2014.
“The new voter registration centres would be used to register Fijians who have just turned 18 years old,” she said.
She said the Elections Office had also received numerous reports of missing EVR cards and the new voter registration centres would be able to issue lost cards.
“We received a total of 3,402 reports of missing EVR cards and we are planning to set up more voter registration centres where we can issue new cards,” Ms Kolinivala said.
Elections Office senior administrative officer Ms Lanieta Gadolo has requested members of the public to bring proper identification in order to get registered.
“Those who wish to be registered need to bring their birth certificate, passport or FNPF card, driving licence, social welfare card or any other employment identification cards,” Ms Gadolo said.
3. CORRUPTION TRAINING FOR LTA
The Land Transport Authority took its officers on a corruption control drill on how best to handle and avoid corrupt activities in their work places.
The one day ‘Corruption Prevention and Risk Reduction Workshop’ provided an opportunity for about 30 officers to improve their service to Fijians through values such as honesty, integrity and with a customer-focused strategy.
LTA general manager (Road Safety) Mr Timoci Satakala told participants that such trainings has seen improved service delivery to members of the public in the past three years.
“While we are proud of what we have achieved on the anti-corruption front so far, today we are here to refine our efforts even further. LTA is like any other organization exposed to corrupt practices and so we’ve decided to provide adequate training to our staff to ensure that they are able to make the right decisions in all circumstances,” Mr Satakala said.
Mr Satakala added that this is also part of LTA’s efforts to ensure that all staff are well-versed with core functions of the organization.
“We want to put an end to road accidents, smoking and burning buses, and vehicles driven by appropriately trained drivers. We also want our customers to be assured of satisfaction for the services that we offer, and thereby have an incentive to comply,” Mr Satakala highlighted.
“While the LTA has made progress in terms of fighting corruption, the problem of inefficiency and susceptibility to outside pressures, remains a serious concern. We cannot sustainably fight corruption unless we reintroduce a sense of accountability—a sense that, if you commit an offence, you will be punished.
He stressed that there are no exceptions in the LTA’s campaign against corruption.
“The workshop today would also assist the participants identify areas that are most vulnerable or susceptible to corruption.”
Meanwhile, LTA media liaison officer Mr Iliesa Sokia said there are cases of impersonation, allegedly involving people from within the organization, which are being referred to the Police.
“LTA conducts internal investigations into matters related to corruption, as well as referring them to the police. We continue to encourage people to report corruption cases to us so that people involved are taken to task,” Mr Sokia said.
The training was organised in partnership with the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.
4. NEW MARKET EXTENSION TO EMPOWER WOMEN IN BUSINESS
The Labasa Town Council has adopted a new approach of empowering women to be part of the business community through the opening of new market stalls later this week.
Labasa special administrator Mr Vijay Chand said providing income generation opportunities for rural women’s groups is a core priority of the Fijian Government’s Women’s Plan of Action 2010 to 2019.
“The market’s new extension has been fully funded by the Council and will be commissioned by the Divisional Commissioner Northern later this week,” Mr Chand said.
Mr Chand said the new market stalls would cater for the growing number of market vendors which would provide more investments to the agricultural market.
“The new market project has been earmarked to empower women and the Council is hoping for a 80 to 90 per cent increase in women market vendors,” Mr Chand said.
Meanwhile, the construction of the Nabouwalu and Dreketi highway has given a major boost to investor confidence in the Northern Division.
“With the construction of the Nabouwalu – Dreketi highway, I am positive that economic prospects in the North would improve,” Mr Chand said.
Mr Chand highlighted that the council has received many enquires from overseas investors who are looking to invest in Labasa and Savusavu town.
“We hope that investors that have established their businesses in Suva would also expand investment opportunities to the North after the construction of the 70km road, “he added.
“The council is also looking at avenues of promoting agro-marketing for local farmers and investing in other produce like potatoes farming for farmers in Bua and Macuata.”
5. CASH BOOST FOR CREST AGRICULTURE SHOW
The Ministry of Agriculture organised Crest Agriculture Show 2013 received a timely boost of $5000 from traditional supporters, the Fiji Development bank as part of its ongoing commitment to develop the agriculture sector in Fiji.
FDB chief executive officer, Mr Deve Toganivalu said the sector was a priority for the bank since its inception 50 years ago.
“Even though agriculture contributes to only about 10 per cent of the economy, it is the single most important sector for our people as some 65 per cent of our total population rely on it for their livelihood,” Mr Toganivalu said, while handing over the cheque to Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary, Mr Ropate Ligairi.
“For the bank, lending to this sector is a priority area because we understand the importance of the sector in terms of Fiji’s food security.”
Mr Ligairi said the bank had been working closely with the sector and most achievements in agriculture have been made possible through its assistance.
He added that while a major chunk of the funding for the show, to the tune of $150,000, was being given by Government, sponsorship from the private sector and other agencies contributed towards the total budget of $250,000.
Not only does the theme for this year’s show ‘Agriculture for Fiji’s Health and Wealth’ capture the economic contribution it makes towards Fiji, but also takes into account agriculture’s contribution to the well being of the people.
FDB’s agricultural portfolio as of June 30, 2013 stood at $57.2 million with 38.5 per cent of its clients from this sector.
Mr Ligairi said they have also invited hotels and overseas embassies to be part of this year’s show.
Internationally renowned manufacturing and distributing company, Goodman Fielder Ltd have again shown support for the event providing a funding of $40,000 in cash and $5000 in kind support.
This year’s agriculture show will be in Lautoka from September 3-7, 2013.