- GIFT TREATS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS AT GOLDEN AGE HOME – The Hon. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Sofia Akbar recently met with senior citizens at the Golden Age Home in Lautoka.
- CONSTRUCTION WORKS TO BEGIN FOR NEW ROTUMA HOSPITAL– Construction works on the new Rotuma hospital will begin soon.
- AGRICULTURE SUPPORTS NEW POULTRY FARM IN BA– The Fijian Government is committed to ensuring food security for the nation, raising rural income levels and creating more employment to combat poverty.
- KUMAR URGES TOWN COUNCIL TO IMPROVE SERVICES – The Hon. Minister for Local Government Hon. Praveen Kumar has urged Local Government authorities to improve services to its ratepayers from 2015.
- MINISTER CLOSES TRAINING OF TRAINERS WORKSHOP – The Minister for Youth and Sports Honourable Laisenia Tuitubou this week closed a two week kerupuk training of trainers workshop at the Nasau Training Centre in Sigatoka.
- EMPLOYER CHARGED ON CHILD LABOUR BREACHES – The Employment Relations Tribunal of the Ministry of Employment handed down a judgment in relation to a child labour case where an employer was employing a child being charged on child labour breaches under the reformed Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) 2007.
GIFT TREATS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS AT GOLDEN AGE HOME
The Hon. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Sofia Akbar recently met with senior citizens at the Golden Age Home in Lautoka.
Minister Akbar paid a visit to the Home for senior citizens and presented gifts to the 40 senior citizens living there.
The Golden Age Home superintendent Ms Tara Naresh commended the Ministry officials for the timely visit.
“Most of these senior citizens are not visited by their families, so such visits by the Madam Minister and her team really bring smiles and happiness for these senior citizens. They need the compassion and care, especially during festive seasons they look forward for such visits.
“The Golden Age Home thanks Minister Akbar. This is her second visit to this Home and the residents are delighted to see the Ministry team bring the joy of Christmas,” Ms Naresh said.
75 year old, Shamshun Nisha, who has been living at this Home for last two years, described the visit as a wish come true for the residents of Golden Age Home.
“We are delighted to know that there are still some people out there who think of us. Even though our families have left us here, the visit by the Minister shows us that there is still some compassion and care left in the world”, Ms Nisha said.
The Golden Age Home was established in 1960’s and it receives annual funding of $324,000 from Ministry of Health to provide shelter and care to senior citizens who are sickly, poor and neglected by their families. The senior citizens who are 70 years and over also receive allowances through the Social Pension Scheme from the Department of Social Welfare.
Meanwhile, more than eighty children from residential homes of St Mina’s, Veilomani Boys Home, Treasure Home and including members of the Fiji Disabled People’s Association were treated to lunch and gifts by the Minister Akbar. The event held at Tanoa Water Front in Lautoka was jointly organised by the Ministry and LICI (Life Insurance Corporation of India).
CONSTRUCTION WORKS TO BEGIN FOR NEW ROTUMA HOSPITAL
Construction works on the new Rotuma hospital will begin soon.
A Government delegation led by the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Hon. Jioji Konrote is in Rotuma today for the ground breaking ceremony to commence construction works.
The Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management permanent secretary Mr Filipe Alifereti said that this was a commitment that the Prime Minister had made after seeing for himself the poor state of the hospital during his visit to the island on the occasion of the Rotuma Day celebrations in May this year.
The new hospital is expected to boost and improve health services to the people of Rotuma, Mr Alifereti said.
“This new development would ultimately fulfill the aim of Government in bringing services closer to rural and maritime people. It would also commit Government to make basic health services easily accessible in rural or remote communities across the country, Mr Alifereti said.
“The construction of the new hospital will be in two phases for which phase one is expected to begin immediately after the Groundbreaking. These include the construction of the hospital foundation and the wall structure,” Mr Alifereti reiterated.
Construction work will be undertaken by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces engineers.
“The Ministry will continue to look at new ways of providing the best services to rural communities.
“We are committed for the continual improvement of rural Fijians,” Mr Alifereti said.
The estimated cost of the project is $4.6m and is expected to be completed by early 2016.
AGRICULTURE SUPPORTS NEW POULTRY FARM IN BA
The Fijian Government is committed to ensuring food security for the nation, raising rural income levels and creating more employment to combat poverty.
The Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Honourable Inia B. Seruiratu made the statement during the launching of the Vueti Au Co-Operative Poultry Farm at Waiwai, Ba.
The Minister said the occasion marks the new Poultry project owned by Vueti Au Cooperative in partnership with Government and Rooster Poultry.
“These initiatives with government and the private sector are workable and beneficial to the lives of rural communities.”
He added the initiative is a testimony to hard work, dedication and planning by a group with a common goal to fulfill their dream of owning a profitable enterprise and helping themselves meet church fund obligations.
“With the total of 115 members of which 52 are males and 63 are females with about 90% of them unemployed, this poultry project now employs five fulltime Co-operative member wage earners.”
He said the farm is a 100% owned by members of the Ba United Pentecostal Church who have gone out of their way to establish their business arm and identify means of gaining returns on resources that they own.
The farm itself he said has all preliminary cost and adhering to compliance laws relevant to poultry development before approaching Government for assistance.
Currently, the farm has harvested 4 batches with the gross return totaling $380,871.13 and covered the returns on investment of $120,000 by Government in this project.
Due for harvest next week for its fifth batch, the Minister said that there are high costs incurred in the business which lowers the income for the owners of the project.
He added that plans are underway to diversify into integrated farming where the Co-operative will expand into cash crops such as pineapple and a sandalwood planting programme as a long term investment.
In addition, he said during the Minister of Finance 2015 Budget address on the 21st of November 2014, Government had committed to the extension of “Agro Input Subsidy” to subsidize the costs of fertilizer, feed and chemicals.
“Small holders will benefit from these subsidies as the cost of feed alone in our livestock industries is around 70% of total production costs.”
The Ministry of Strategic Planning funds this project through the Integrated Human Resources Development Programme (IHRDP).
Vueti Au Cooperative was also formed as the business arm of the Ba United Pentecostal Church in its efforts to help members to meet the church financial obligations.
A number of other commercial agriculture activities that they have ventured in across Fiji include cassava and dalo cultivation in Navitilevu, Ra and in Taveuni, Cakaudrove.
KUMAR URGES TOWN COUNCIL TO IMPROVE SERVICES
The Hon. Minister for Local Government Hon. Praveen Kumar has urged Local Government authorities to improve services to its ratepayers from 2015.
He said this is important if municipalities want to continue socio – economic growth in their towns and cities.
Hon. Kumar made the statement while addressing Special administrators, chief executive officers and senior executives of the 13 municipalities at the annual Local Government Forum in Lautoka.
“I understand that there are challenges. But there are challenges in all facets of life, we need to take these challenges head on and see them as opportunities,” he said.
“Control what you can control and from next year, I expect better services to all Fijians because they are at the heart of all development programmes.”
Minister Kumar also indicated that from 2015 all building permits would need to be cleared within 20 days. This he says would enhance the capabilities of officers in the different municipalities.
“For those that would not be cleared – those files would be dealt with by a panel which I would be announcing in January,” Hon. Kumar added.
“We need to capitalise on the incentives and initiatives that Government has announced to get better returns on developments.”
MINISTER CLOSES TRAINING OF TRAINERS WORKSHOP
The Minister for Youth and Sports Honourable Laisenia Tuitubou this week closed a two week kerupuk training of trainers workshop at the Nasau Training Centre in Sigatoka.
In closing the workshop, he acknowledged the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Fiji H.E Dr Gary Jusuf for the training and highlighted the growing relationship between the Indonesian and Fijian Government.
“I wish to take this opportunity and acknowledge the growing relationship between the governments of Indonesian and Fiji,” he said.
“On behalf of the Fijian Government and its people, I sincerely acknowledge your Government’s commitment towards youth development and other similar areas.
He also paid tribute to the contributions of the Indonesian embassy through value adding trainings such as the kerupuk training of trainers workshop.
“Your recent and past contributions have really changed the way Fijians consider their natural resources and the things we always took for granted,” he said.
“We are looking forward to strengthening this relationship in many aspects in the near future,” he added.
Minister Tuitubou said that the value-adding production of Fish Crackers training was ideal for Fiji and he was looking forward to the outcomes of this training.
“I am looking forward to the outcomes of this training especially when you the certified trainers are mobilised to empower your respective target groups – mainly the women and youths of Fiji.
H.E Ambassador Jusuf also thanked the various government departments for availing all the necessities required to conduct the training.
“I thank the different government ministries present here today for providing all that was necessary to conduct the training,” Dr Jusuf said.
“I look forward to future training partnerships between the Government of Indonesia and Fiji,” he added.
The two week kerupuk training of trainers was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Women and the Ministry of Fisheries.
EMPLOYER CHARGED ON CHILD LABOUR BREACHES
The Employment Relations Tribunal of the Ministry of Employment handed down a judgment in relation to a child labour case where an employer was employing a child being charged on child labour breaches under the reformed Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) 2007.
The Minister for Employment Mr. Jioji Konrote highlighted that the case was referred to the Minister’s Office in January last year.
“The employer who is a prominent internet shop located in the Suva City was charged and the matter was brought to the Employment Tribunal before Resident Magistrate Mr. Andrew See.” said the Minister.
“He adds that subsequent to the hearing, the sentencing was made after the Tribunal found the Employer guilty of all three charges”
The Minister confirmed that the employer was charged on four counts in relation to:
- employing a child in excess of 8 hours
- where the child was not given 30 minutes paid break
- for not keeping a register for children
- for not producing the records of wages payment for inspection to the Labour Officer
The Tribunal also ordered the child to be paid compensation of $400.00 while the Ministry is awarded a cost of $200.00
“In total the Employer has been ordered to pay the fine of $8000.00 and $600.00 for both child compensation and Ministry’s cost.
This is a first ever child labour case that has been successfully prosecuted in Fiji.
Mr. Konrote urges employers employing children to be mindful of the minimum employment terms and conditions under the labour law and ensures that issues related to child protection are addressed through continuous monitoring with rigid enforcement
The fine imposed is the first ever huge fine imposed to any employer after the enactment of the ERP since 2007.