CAPTION: His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Republic of Turkey’s Ambassador Her Excellency Damla Yesim Say.
1. PRESIDENT RECEIVES TURKISH AMABASSADOR – His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau this morning received the credentials of the non – resident Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, Her Excellency Damla Yesim Say at Government House this morning.
2.MINISTRY SEEKS MEDIA ASSISTANCE IN CLIMATE CHANGE – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Climate Change Unit has sought the assistance of the media to educate Fijians on issues pertaining to climate change.
3. FIJI AND TUVALU DEVELOP FISHERIES AND TRADE – Co-operation between Fiji and Tuvalu on fisheries issues will be further developed.
4.NATIONAL CELEBRATIONS TO RECOGNIZE WOMEN – The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation in partnership with women groups have organised celebrations to commemorate International Women’s Day 2013 throughout Fiji.
5.REDUCING POVERTY IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS – Poverty eradication is an area of priority the Government continues to address by formulating strategies to improve the standard of living in Fiji.
6.GOVT EARNS FROM ITS PREMISES – Proper management and maintenance of government assets continue to boost State coffers as the Public Service Commission handed over close to $482,000 to the Ministry of Finance today.
1.PRESIDENT RECEIVES TURKISH AMABASSADOR
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau this morning received the credentials of the non – resident Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, Her Excellency Damla Yesim Say at Government House this morning.
Madame Yesim Say brought with her the greeting of Turkish President, His Excellency Abdullah Gul and took the opportunity to renew the strong relations between the two countries.
Madame Yesim Say said Turkey would continue to explore new and existing areas of development during her time as the envoy of her country to Fiji.
The non-resident ambassador has served in Japan, Iraq, and Switzerland and is based in Wellington, New Zealand.
Ratu Epeli hopes the existing relations between Fiji and Turkey will continue to grow from strength to strength.
Fiji and Turkey established relations in November 1975.
2.MINISTRY SEEKS MEDIA ASSISTANCE IN CLIMATE CHANGE
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Climate Change Unit has sought the assistance of the media to educate Fijians on issues pertaining to climate change.
At a two-day media climate change workshop, permanent secretary Amena Yauvoli said the Fijian Government had developed a National Climate Change Policy.
“We have come to realise that until the people we serve begin to take an interest and take ownership of the policy, it remains what it is, a lifeless plan without a focus,” Mr Yauvoli said.
“For this to happen, we need the media because it speaks the language best understood by the people. It can breathe zeal and life into our policies and help us tell of the many stories and experiences about climate change our people confront on a daily basis.”
Mr Yauvoli said despite extensive coverage of climate change in Fiji, there was still a lack in stories as told by people, adaptation forms as taught and passed through tradition, practices and culture.
Highlighting some of the innovative projects undertaken by the unit, Mr Yauvoli said the ministry had started with a major profiling exercise where they had identified villages, communities and implemented adaptation projects amongst others.
“With this project we will be linking the commitments we make at the international level and translating them into tangible programmes, involving our people in collecting information on issues which directly affect them,” Mr Yauvoli said.
“In addition to the profiling exercise we will be carrying out training and workshops in our districts with all our stakeholders so that we increase advocacy awareness on climate change and measure to strengthen our collective responses.”
Participants at the workshop will also scrutinise a communication strategy the unit has developed.
The workshop ends tomorrow.
3.FIJI AND TUVALU DEVELOP FISHERIES AND TRADE
Co-operation between Fiji and Tuvalu on fisheries issues will be further developed.
This is after the Ministry for Industry and Trade permanent secretary Shaheen Ali met and discussed with the Tuvaluan Natural Resources permanent secretary Kakee Kaitu today.
“The meeting acknowledged that fisheries is one of the most important shared-resource in the Pacific, which can accrue socio-economic development for the region if managed and utilised sustainably,” Mr Ali said.
“The meeting discussed the need for Pacific island countries to work together, pool resources, draw on areas where we have comparative advantage and partner with the private sector to maximise and benefit from our fisheries resources.”
The two sides agreed to facilitate and enhance co-operation and partnership in fisheries and trade, for the mutual benefit of both countries and contributing to the overall objective of regional integration.
“Furthermore, the discussions on cooperation between the two countries included the sharing of expertise and training in the area of establishing and strengthening the competent authority on monitoring and enforcing “sanitary and pytosanitary” standards and combating “illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing,” Mr Ali said.
Today’s meeting is timely because Fiji and Tuvalu are moving towards developing stronger bilateral trade and economic ties. The Rotuma-Tuvalu trade initiative is an example of this close co-operation.
Later this week the Fijian Government team will meet the Tuvaluan team in Rotuma, to discuss trade related issues, to further facilitate trade between Rotuma and Tuvalu.
“We look forward to more discussions and cooperation with the Tuvaluan Government to foster closer trade relations and cooperation in areas of common interest, such as fisheries and trade,” Mr Ali said.
4.NATIONAL CELEBRATIONS TO RECOGNIZE WOMEN
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation in partnership with women groups have organised celebrations to commemorate International Women’s Day 2013 throughout Fiji.
The programmes are designed to advocate the national theme for this year’s celebration, “Championing Gender for Gender Equality”.
A programme has been organised for women in the Central Division and about 100 women will march in Nausori Town tomorrow to lead the celebrations at the Nausori Catholic Hall.
The chief guests for this event will be Madam Nazhat Shameem and Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation acting permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta.
There will be presentations from the Sexual Offence Unit and Fiji Cancer Society to create awareness and provide information on issues related to women. The women groups will also walk away with sewing machines to help them generate income for their families.
A similar programme has also been organised for women in the Western Division and the Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki will officially open the International Women’s Day in Lautoka on Friday, March 15.
Women from as far as Ra will take part in this event and will have the opportunity to display their handicrafts, arts and skills.
They will be provided with information on women’s health, gender and education, women and law. There will be free health screenings and presentations will be made by academic institutions and the Fiji Police Force on women’s issues. More than 200 women will participate in this one day event in the western division.
For the first time a three-day programme in Makadru village, in Lau has been organised to dedicate the event to women in the Eastern Division. More than 100 women will participate in the official opening of this programme on Friday, March 15.
Similarly, the Northern Division will host celebrations for women in Savusavu and Labasa. The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni will be the chief guest in Labasa on Wednesday, March 20. She will also meet with the women groups in Savusavu and officially open the Senibiau Women’s Resource Centre in Dreketi on Thursday, March 21.
5.REDUCING POVERTY IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS
Poverty eradication is an area of priority the Government continues to address by formulating strategies to improve the standard of living in Fiji.
This was raised by Commissioner Central Col. Laisenia Tuitubou when he officially opened a Poverty Reduction Awareness programme organised by the Poverty Monitoring Unit in Korovou, Tailevu.
Col Laisenia Tuitubou highlighted the need for the display of information of vital services by government ministries and private sectors to help reduce poverty.
“The objective is to motivate the public about reducing poverty by utilising the available local resources and to create confidence and ownership that reducing poverty is everybody’s business,” Col Tuitubou said.
The integrated approach will benefit members of the public to access the essential information to help make informed decisions.
“A poverty of information is when one does not have the full knowledge of information to be able to access basic services such as health centers, hospitals, nursing stations, schools, and water,” Col Tuitubou said.
“Stakeholders need to work together with Government. This includes NGO’s, private sectors, trade-based organizations, and more importantly the vanua.
“At the same time we are empowering our people to make better decisions.”
District officer Viliame Baleirara, identified the event as government’s efforts to alleviate poverty at the district and village level.
“The necessary stakeholders present will contribute to this particular effort to raise the poverty level at district and village level,” Mr Baleirara said.
The three-day event with the theme, “Poverty is an Attitude Change” is highly appreciated by members of the public.
Tailevu North Women’s Club president Liga Saro said the program was a chance for women and school students to be aware of the services available.
“Events like these brought to our doorsteps open opportunities for rural women to address issues regarding health, training, money and business skills,” Mrs Saro said.
Participants included personnel from banks, tertiary institutes, microfinance units and various government departments.
6.GOVT EARNS FROM ITS PREMISES
Proper management and maintenance of government assets continue to boost State coffers as the Public Service Commission handed over close to $482,000 to the Ministry of Finance today.
Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said the trade and manufacturing accounts (TMA) remittance was realised despite the catch-up in repairs and the maintenance required after Tropical Cyclone Evan last December and the floods earlier this year.
He said the State-owned office space and quarters were previously under-utilised and often left idle.
“With the Prime Minister’s vision and through the help of the Ministry of Finance we have turned this around through a mix formula of commercial renting, subsidised rental as well as outsourcing for repairs into good looking sites,” Mr Chand said.
“This in turn is earning reasonable revenue so that we can continue to retain them and it is no longer a burden to the State.”
Ministry of Finance permanent secretary, Filimone Waqabaca, said the positive results of the reform were responsible for the returns and the $481,983 would go towards the State’s consolidated funds.
“There is always demand for Government to deliver services to the whole nation and this fund will be put to good use such as the road works, another area that requires a lot of catching up,” Mr Waqabaca said.
Mr Chand said the surplus was quite less compared to the previous year as just over $2million was given to Ministry of Finance but there were some necessary repairs and maintenance works required.
“There is around $3.6m usually earned from these premises but right now 80 per cent of that is going into repairs with the remainder 20 per cent as surplus,” the PSC permanent secretary said.
“We hope to turn those figures around by putting aside only 20 per cent as overhead and 80 per cent as the revenue.”