- FIJI CHAIRS UNESCAP SPECIAL BODY MEETING – Bangkok, 26th of May 2015 – The 71st Session of the ESCAP Senior Officials segment began yesterday in Bangkok Thailand with the UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar calling on member states to come together to successfully address the key development issues affecting the Asia and the Pacific region.
- GOVERNMENT POLICY ENCOURAGES IMPORT OF FUEL EFFICIENT VEHICLE – Government has introduced specific policies to encourage importation and use of more fuel efficient vehicles such as Pure Electrics and Hybrids which is now enjoying zero percent import tariff rates.
- MINISTER AKBAR COMMENDS STAFF – Minister for Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar has commended her staff for their efforts in achieving ministry targets and overall raising the profile of the ministry through improved service delivery.
- 14 PARTICIPANTS GRADUATE FROM TRAINING CENTRE – Fourteen participants from the Naqere Youth Training Centre graduated with certificates in small engine and fiberglass boat repair in Savusavu today.
- NEW SHIP TO ARRIVE IN JULY – The purchase of the third shipping vessel from Malaysia is a significant investment by the government and will continuously support the transport sector in the country’s economy.
- MORE RESEARCH WORK ON BREADFRUIT – More attention is needed on the research of breadfruit and its products in order to fully capitalize the existing market potential.
- STRICT MONITORING ON SHIPPING CHARGES – New shipping fares and freights charges will be strictly monitored by the Fiji Commerce Commission with the support of Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport as of 1st July 2015.
- FIJI CHAIRS UNESCAP SPECIAL BODY MEETING
Bangkok, 26th of May 2015 – The 71st Session of the ESCAP Senior Officials segment began yesterday in Bangkok Thailand with the UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar calling on member states to come together to successfully address the key development issues affecting the Asia and the Pacific region.
She reiterated the need to “position our region on newer frontiers in building the future Asia and the Pacific we want” and to ensure the global success of the new Sustainable Development Goals that will be launched in 2016.
The call comes on the eve of the launching of the UN post-2015 development agenda which is set to be endorsed by world leaders in September this year during the opening of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The four-member Fiji delegation for the Senior Officials segment is led by the Permanent Secretary of Finance, Mr. Filimone Waqabaca. Mr. Waqabaca also presided as Chair of the Preparatory meeting for the Special Body on Least Developing Countries (LDCs), Land-locked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on Tuesday, 26th May 2015 and will be expected to deliver the Chair’s Summary to the Special Body on LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS on Wednesday, 27th 2015.
The Fiji delegation also participated in the Informal Working Group sessions to prepare the draft resolutions that will be presented to the Ministerial segment of the ESCAP 71st session on the 28th of May 2015, that will be Chaired by Fiji’s Prime Minister, Hon. Josaia. V. Bainimarama.
The meeting brings together senior officials of ESCAP member States and associate member States, representatives of the UN secretariat, agencies, funds and programmes, other development partners, international and regional organizations.
- GOVERNMENT POLICY ENCOURAGES IMPORT OF FUEL EFFICIENT VEHICLES
Government has introduced specific policies to encourage importation and use of more fuel efficient vehicles such as Pure Electrics and Hybrids which is now enjoying zero percent import tariff rates.
This was highlighted today by the Minister for Local Government, Parveen Kumar at the launch of Fiji’s 1st Pure Electric Three-Wheeler Vehicle.
“In April 2014, electric vehicles were made duty free and in the 2015 National budget it was announced that Hybrid vehicles will also attract duty free rates,” Minister Kumar said.
“As an island nation, we need all sectors to play their active part to maintain our foreign exchange source especially in tourism.”
Minister Kumar added that today’s introduction of such efficient and zero emission vehicles will assist Government to accelerate the attainment of its medium to long term sustainable development plans.
“The world around us is moving towards the direction of clean renewable energy and efficient transportation system,” Minister Kumar said.
“Today sets the milestone for Fiji and perhaps the Pacific Region in a serious, yet committed initial move towards the use of electric vehicles on our road.”
VKJ Global Limited chief executive officer, Alvin Maharaj said that today’s event was a stepping stone for the company to get into more electric mobility vehicles in the future.
“We are trying to work in partnership with government so that this can be materialised,” Mr Maharaj said.
“We look forward to government’s support in the formulation of relevant policies and guidelines to ensure that any move towards the electric vehicle sector is expedited.”
The Pure Electric Three Wheeler can travel up to 40km range on full charge.
- MINISTER AKBAR COMMENDS STAFF
Minister for Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar has commended her staff for their efforts in achieving ministry targets and overall raising the profile of the ministry through improved service delivery.
Minister Akbar told her senior staff during an executive meeting that improved performance will ultimately ensure that they fulfil the vision of the ministry.
“That is to empower and work towards looking after the welfare of the poorest of the poor, senior citizens and our disabled members in a much better way,” Minister Akbar said.
“We will work together to ensure that the officers are provided with the necessary resources so that they overcome the barriers and continue with efficient service delivery.”
“Punctuality, professionalism, positive attitude, timeliness, being empathetic, care and compassion are the core values of our ministry that enable us to operate efficiently.”
Director Social Welfare, Mr Rupeni Fatiaki urged the officers to work together as a team to address challenges and internal issues.
“We come from different backgrounds and experiences but when we come together our objectives and programs for the ministry become one,” Fatiaki said.
- 14 PARTICIPANTS GRADUATE FROM TRAINING CENTRE
Fourteen participants from the Naqere Youth Training Centre graduated with certificates in small engine and fiberglass boat repair in Savusavu today.
Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary Josefa Sania said the six weeks training had been successfully completed.
“The training was aimed at providing youths with the basic skills that the ministry believes will equip them in the upkeep of small engines and fibreglass as they return to their individual homes,” he said.
Mr Sania said participants had undergone four weeks of small engine repair training and two weeks of fiberglass boat repair training.
“The training was more than informative and helpful for the participants,” Mr Sania said.
Mr Sania said following their training, these village youths now had the opportunity to use their newly skills gained in income generating projects in their own homes and settlements.
Youth participant Pauliasi Masibana, 23, of Savusavu acknowledged the training provided by the ministry.
“In the village, once we drop out of school we think that it’s the end of it and we can’t earn a better living, but what we have learned in these six weeks is that we have skills and we are now fully trained to make use of them,” said Mr Masibana.
Participants were also presented with their very own ‘Take Away’ tools to enable them to actively continue with the newly gained skills.
Mr Sania said the tools were the ministry’s tangible investment in the young people.
“Therefore I urged them to utilise it well as it will allow them to repair their stroke engines in the village rather than having to take it to garages in towns for a much heftier price tag,” he said.
- NEW SHIP TO ARRIVE IN JULY
The purchase of the third shipping vessel from Malaysia is a significant investment by the government and will continuously support the transport sector in the country’s economy.
Infrastructure and Transport permanent secretary Francis Kean said the $2.8million vessel will provide service to the whole of Fiji.
“As a maritime island, transportation is vital for the country to enable trade movement of people, good and services for people,” Mr Kean said.
“Government is committed to improving transportation to our maritime region and has increased allocation of $2.4million for the shipping franchise scheme.”
Mr Kean highlighted that the ship designers will complete the necessary works on board the ship before it is brought to Fiji..
Mr Kean commended the Sarawak ship builders from Malaysia for their commitment in constructing the new ship on time.
- MORE RESEARCH WORK ON BREADFRUIT
More attention is needed on the research of breadfruit and its products in order to fully capitalize the existing market potential.
The acting deputy secretary for Agriculture Development at the Ministry of Agriculture Miliakere Nawaikula made the comments as she opened the National Breadfruit symposium at Nadi’s Tokatoka resort today.
The symposium which is being organized by the Fiji Institute of Agricultural Science (FIAS) and the Pacific Breadfruit Project is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s effort to increase local breadfruit production for food security and export.
“Breadfruit is an important crop not only for Fiji but the whole Pacific Island Countries. It is grown as a food security and an export crop,” Mrs Nawaikula said.
“Nature’s Way Cooperative has been exporting breadfruit to New Zealand since 2001 and exports have remained around 10-12 tonnes per year however, market potential exists for 200 tonnes annually.
“Apart of fresh fruit exports, breadfruit also has potential to be processed and there are numerous niche breadfruit based food products already available throughout the region. The fact that gluten free flour can be produced from breadfruit represents debatably the largest single market opportunity for the industry across the region.
“Symposiums like this one provides a platform to all those interested in advancing agriculture in Fiji, to coalesce and exchange vast practical experiences, innovative ideas and knowledge that will modernize Fiji’s Agriculture Sector Development internationally competitive standards.”
- STRICT MONITORING ON SHIPPING CHARGES
New shipping fares and freights charges will be strictly monitored by the Fiji Commerce Commission with the support of Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport as of 1st July 2015.
This follows Cabinet’s endorsement of the Report on the Outcome of Consultations on the Review of Shipping fares and freight charges for Maritime Shipping in Fiji.
Permanent secretary for Infrastructure and Transport Commander Francis Kean said as such MSAF will spearhead the implementation of a standard manifest for all cargo to be adopted by ship operators training in Fiji.
“For three years of consultations, analysis and assessments by the Fiji Commerce Commission with the jointly led Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport Technical Working Group has made recommendations of this report with effect from 1st July 2015,” Mr Kean said.
“This will be monitored by the Fiji Commerce Commission and supported by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.”
Fiji Commerce Commission chief executive officer Bobby Maharaj said the new charges will be gazetted and presented to the public for their knowledge.
“During the review processes we had to look into areas of shipping capacity, fares and charges, and the distance from either Natovi and too Vanua Levu,” Mr Maharaj said.
“All shipping companies including passengers will have manifestos and this will be implemented by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji,” he said.