1. NEW BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER PRESENTS CREDENTIALS – The new resident British High Commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Roderick Ian Drummond presented his credentials to the President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today.
2. DANISH AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO PRESIDENT – The non-resident Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to Fiji His Excellency, Mr Børge Petersen presented his credentials to the President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House today.
3. NATIONAL HOUSING EXPO AT THE HIBISCUS – The public visiting the Hibiscus festival this week will now be able to meet with housing providers and consult their housing needs at the National Housing Expo marquee at the 2013 Hibiscus Festival.
4. VANUABALAVU AND LAKEBA RECEIVES SOLAR ENERGY – The recent commissioning of 1000 solar panels in the villages of Malaka in Vanuabalavu and Nukunuku in Lakeba is a step in the right direction for clean and affordable energy in the Lau Group.
5. MICRO FINANCE TRANSFORMS LIVES – Micro finance is more than just about money, it is about transforming lives.
6. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES WORK TO PROMOTE HALTHY CANTEENS – THE Health Ministry is working with the Ministry of Education to ensure that school canteens around the country are providing nutritional food and snacks to students.
7. FIJI AMBASSADOR RECEIVES FIJI NATIONAL AIRLINE CEO – The Chief Executive Officer-Designate of Fiji Airways Mr Stefan Pichler paid a courtesy call on Fiji’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Robin Nair at the Fijian Embassy in Abu Dhabi earlier this week.
1 NEW BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER PRESENTS CREDENTIALS
The new resident British High Commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Roderick Ian Drummond presented his credentials to the President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today.
His Excellency Ratu Epeli welcomed the new high commissioner to the country as he presented his credentials to the President.
Mr Drummond completed a Master of Arts with Honours in History from the Edinburgh University in United Kingdom in 1985.
Mr Drummond joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in 1985 and has worked on Middle East affairs in Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, where he had been Deputy Head of Mission since 2009.
He has also served in South Africa where he focused on trade and investment promotion, and worked on EU affairs in Brussels, including the development of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy.
Mr Drummond also has keen interest in rugby, camping, trekking, tennis, golf, scuba diving, history and cooking.
Mr Drummond is married to Mrs Yasmin Kamal with three children.
The British High Commission in Suva is also accredited to Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.
2 DANISH AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO PRESIDENT
The non-resident Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to Fiji His Excellency, Mr Børge Petersen presented his credentials to the President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House today.
Mr Petersen is a knight of the Order of the Dannebrog, First Class and graduated from Copenhagen School of Economics and Business Administration in 1974.
He was a marketing specialist for Vestergaard Bros in Denmark from 1974 to 1976 before moving to head of marketing coordination at Bruun & Sørensen Ltd in Denmark.
From 2004 to 2008, Mr Petersen was appointed Ambassador to Malaysia and to the Republic of the Philippines.
He was also appointed Ambassador to Indonesia, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste with residence in Jakarta.
3 NATIONAL HOUSING EXPO AT THE HIBISCUS
The public visiting the Hibiscus festival this week will now be able to meet with housing providers and consult their housing needs at the National Housing Expo marquee at the 2013 Hibiscus Festival.
The Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment as part of its awareness program to promote‘Affordable and Decent Housing’, opened the expo this week.
The Ministry’s acting permanent secretary Mr Saverio Baleikanacea said the expo is in line with the Government’s National Housing Policy Implementation Action Plan as well as Government’s commitment to provide accessible as well as affordable land and housing opportunities to improve living standards in the communities.
The Acting PS said Government has carried out policy initiatives to improve the access of affordable and decent homes by establishing a land bank to make land more accessible in response to the needs of the housing sector.
The Acting PS urged housing stakeholders to work together and formulate strategies during this year’s National Housing Expo and work to improving the efficiency and performance of the housing sector.
4 VANUABALAVU AND LAKEBA RECEIVES SOLAR ENERGY
The recent commissioning of 1000 solar panels in the villages of Malaka in Vanuabalavu and Nukunuku in Lakeba is a step in the right direction for clean and affordable energy in the Lau Group.
The Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Timoci Natuva, commissioned this new development and highlighted government’s commitment towards “electrifying the rural and maritime islands”. He included this as part of government’s initiative in achieving higher economic growth while ensuring sustainability.
This recent commissioning is part of Government’s electrification project which leads to sourcing cheap and alternative sources of energy to “light up” rural and isolated communities across the country.
At the commissioning ceremony, the Minister pointed out that this development will benefit the children living in these communities and will also save costs for families who in the past have had to pay enormous amounts for other forms of energy including diesel or kerosene.
He added the monetary savings can now be diverted to other productive uses such as health or education needs of each family.
“We want to encourage villagers to utilize their time and utilize idle land for agriculture to assist their families financially.”
56 year old Losalini Malumu of Malaka village said this is the first time for the village to access proper electricity since their forefathers settled on the land.
“We are so proud of this incentive provided by government and we know that this will assist us as we are far away from the main land Viti Levu and Vanua Levu,” Mr Sade said.
Malaka village with 30 households each family spend approximately $15.00 a week purchasing of Kerosene.
Mrs Malumu said families often struggle to buy kerosene and at times have had to ration it which often affects childrens’ studies at home.
To date government has installed over 95% of Solar Home Systems around Fiji. Government’s emphasis on rural development also allows various micro enterprises and rural businesses to expand their businesses.
5 MICRO FINANCE TRANSFORM LIVES
Micro finance is more than just about money, it is about transforming lives.
Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni, while launching the SPBD Financial Booklet for those engaged in small and micro-enterprises, said micro finance was a key strategy of Government to fight poverty.
“Micro finance can help the poor to increase income build viable businesses and generate job opportunities to name a few,” she said during the launch at the Financial Village at Albert Park.
Dr Luveni said it can also be a powerful instrument for self-empowerment by enabling women to drive efforts to elevate the financial status of their families.
The booklet, which is the second edition that will be available at the mere price of $10, was put together by the South Pacific Business Development and contains financial tip and diary for its mostly female clients.
Tulia Veikoso, 48, is a tailor who is now on her fourth loan from SPBD said the booklet will be very handy for her as she is still trying to build up her business.
“The diary particularly is good because I will be able to keep track of my expenses and where I need to cut down,” she said.
The mother of three said although her husband is a naval officer, it is no longer possible to meet all the needs of the family on just one salary, which was why she decided to venture into a small business.
SPBD Fiji general manager, Mr Elrico Munoz said the booklet was a treasure trove of tips on how to manage ones finances.
The women organizations often take loans to purchase the tools for their businesses such as ovens and sewing machines and have been found to be highly credit worthy.
Minister Luveni said the booklet will make women aware of when to save, how to save, budgeting and since they are the heart of the household, they will inculcate these habits into the rest of the members.
The SPBD currently has nearly 3900 lady clients in its Fijian micro loans portfolio and a repayment rate is in excess of 95 per cent.
6 GOVERNMENT AGENCIES WORK TO PROMOTE HEALTHY CANTEENS
THE Health Ministry is working with the Ministry of Education to ensure that school canteens around the country are providing nutritional food and snacks to students.
Health minister Doctor Neil Sharma said the purpose of the school canteen guidelines is to promote healthy lifestyles as early amongst young children.
“We need to produce and provide food that are nutritional and reduce high calorie drinks that has high sugar content and that has no nutritional value to it,” Dr Sharma said.
“With the school health program already in place, we are working with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Youths and Sports so that children exercise in schools and to be taught to plant locally grown root crops and vegetables,” Dr Sharma said.
The guideline incorporates the Fiji Food and Health Guidelines, as well as the Education Ministry’s policy on food and nutrition in schools.
Meanwhile, the National Adviser for Dietetics and Nutrition Anaisi Delai said parents “need to take the lead role in improving their children’s nutritional diet”.
“We need to encourage parents and guardians to feed their children with healthy food and also promote breastfeeding which should be exclusive for the first six months,” Mrs Delai said.
The centre is working to strengthen awareness on key messages including the need for mothers to breastfeed their babies and for families to promote the eating of nutritional meals at all times.
7 FIJI AMBASSADOR RECEIVES FIJI NATIONAL AIRLINE CEO
The Chief Executive Officer-Designate of Fiji Airways Mr Stefan Pichler paid a courtesy call on Fiji’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Robin Nair at the Fijian Embassy in Abu Dhabi earlier this week.
In welcoming the CEO-designate, Ambassador Nair said, “Fiji is very pleased to have appointed someone with such vast knowledge of and success in the airline industry in the Asia-Pacific region and in the Middle East, where Fiji is working hard to access markets for its export of its niche products and also to attract tourism from these parts of the world”.
“Mr Pichler’s vast network of people with similar visions in the industry would be an asset for Fiji”.
Ambassador Nair pointed out that Mr Pichler’s experience in both the Asia Pacific and Middle East region would be an advantage for Fiji.
Ambassador Nair and Mr Pichler also briefly discussed the status of the Air Services Agreement with the UAE.
Mr Stefan will finish his current term as the CEO of Jazeera Airways, based in Kuwait and arrive in Fiji to begin his appointment on 2 September 2013.