CAPTION: PM Bainimarama with NZ Trage Delegation.
1. NZ TRADE DELEGATION SHOWS INTEREST IN NORTHERN ECONOMY – A 12-MEMBER trade delegation from New Zealand was assured by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that they will be provided all necessary support they need when the invest in Fiji.
2. NORTHERN TOUR TO ESTABLISH OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN – The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni is currently on a 3 day tour to the northern division to look at ways of creating new opportunities for women in the division.
3. VANUA LEVU WITNESSES THE CELEBRATION FOR WOMEN – More than 300 women from the Macuata and Cakaudrove province flocked into Labasa this week to join in the International Women’s Day celebrations that started with a march in the streets of the Labasa Town.
4. OFFICE OF AUDITOR GENERAL (OAG) AND PACIFIC ISLANDS CENTRE FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (PICPA) PARTNER TO STRENGTHEN STAFF CAPACITY – The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) in Fiji and the Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration (PICPA) today launched a workshop on Public Sector Auditing.
5. GOVERNMENT DELIVERS ITS PROMISE TO THE WOMEN – Two years ago the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation started with a vision to ensure that all the villages in Fiji have access to sewing machines to establish income generating projects for women in these communities.
6. FIJI SPORTS COUNCIL ASSISTS SPORTING FEDERATIONS TO RAISE FUNDS – The Fiji Sports Council in its continuing commitment to sports and events is organising a Sports Federations Market Day to be held this week at the ANZ Stadium car park on Saturday 23rd from 8am – 4.30pm.
7. MINISTER FOR LABOUR VISITS LABASA – The Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, Mr Jone Usamate held public consultations yesterday in Labasa to address issues regarding employment.
8. WOMEN ISSUES TO BE GIVEN PRIORITY – The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is looking to champion women issues in the region says it’s Director General Peter Forau.
1 NZ TRADE DELEGATION SHOWS INTEREST IN NORTHERN ECONOMY
A 12-MEMBER trade delegation from New Zealand was assured by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that they will be provided all necessary support they need when the invest in Fiji.
This is after the group showed keen interest in the economy in the northern division and asked the head of government related questions of the logistics of doing business in that part of the country.
The group members met with the Prime Minister Bainimarama this week and told him that they were impressed with the progress in Fiji over the years and encouraged by major investments by Government towards improving infrastructure.
The businessmen who have interest in various sectors began their fact-finding visit at the Investment Fiji seminar earlier this week and meetings were held with stakeholders on agriculture, textile and food processing entities with an eye on investing in these areas in the near future.
Fiji’s acting head of mission in New Zealand, Mrs Mere Tora led the team in a joint effort with the Pacific Trade and Investment Forum, which is engaged in the increasing trade between Pacific island countries and New Zealand.
Mr Wenceslaus Anthony, who is the President of the India-New Zealand business council, said they were impressed with presentations made by the Fijian government on investment opportunities in Fiji.
“Our group was very happy with all the information and presentations put to us and we are glad we have not relied on information out there but actually met the people on the ground to get these facts first hand,” Mr Anthony said.
2 NORTHERN TOUR TO ESTABLISH OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni is currently on a 3 day tour to the northern division to look at ways of creating new opportunities for women in the division.
Dr Luveni met with the social welfare officers and women interest officers in Labasa. In her address to the northern division staff she reminded them on the need for teamwork and friendly customer services. The Ministry’s acting permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta and Director Women Mrs Arieta Moceica are also part of the official entourage to the northern division.
“Given the ministry’s core role in poverty alleviation and empowering the women, I would like to reiterate the importance of working as a team. Our role as social welfare and women officers is important as we serve the poor and disadvantaged in our communities. We should work within the timelines we have committed to in the 2013 Annual Corporate Plan and achieve the deliverables,” Minister Luveni said.
She reminded staff to remain loyal and faithful in their roles as civil servants and that their performance would be monitored on a regular basis.
The Minister also met with the Commissioner Northern Ilai Moceica to discuss women projects in the north. Shereiterated that her Ministry’s strengthened partnership with the Commissioner Northern’s Office would open up new economic opportunities for women in Vanua Levu. The economic projects coordinated by the commissioner’s office and that of the ministry are both designed towards alleviating poverty.
“The projects are aimed to economically empower the communities, alleviate poverty and address gender issues to realize that the pathway to sustainable development is through empowering women.
“We are also exploring a new initiative that is for the divisional commissioners to be the ambassadors for women in their respective divisions, because these commissioners are leaders in their divisions, it’s an initiative that will push for women development in the 4 divisions,” she said.
She said that her ministry is glad to firm up its network with the Commissioner Northern’s Office for the construction of women resource centres and secure markets for the income generating products for northern women.
“These women resource centres will focus on “One Centre One Product” concept, the centres provide an avenue for women to team up and undertake various projects in north. They will be equipped with training opportunities to perfect their skills and products to meet the local demand and then explore the overseas markets,” Dr Luveni added.
In welcoming the partnership, Commissioner Moceica said the networking with heads of government ministries and departments provides a strong and consolidated platform that complements the governments overarching vision of building a better Fiji and People’s Charter for Change, Peace and progress.
3 VANUA LEVU WITNESSES THE CELEBRATION FOR WOMEN
More than 300 women from the Macuata and Cakaudrove province flocked into Labasa this week to join in the International Women’s Day celebrations that started with a march in the streets of the Labasa Town.
The one-day event was organised by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation in partnership with the Labasa Town Council and Office of the Commissioner Northern. This celebration was officially opened by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
In her opening address to the women of Vanua Levu, Dr Luveni acknowledged their contribution towards their families and motivated them to use their skills and resources to reach greater potentials.
“Government has provided the largest budget ever, $1.1 million for programs to develop women, to raise our social status to a higher level. The onus is on us to become resourceful and utilize our special skills that have the potential to change lives of your families and therefore the life of the nation,” Dr Luveni reiterated.
“Government, through the People’s Charter for Change is calling for effective leadership of women at all levels for their participation in development process”.
Dr Luveni said that women need the support of men to shape the future of this nation.
“The different needs and concern of both men and women are important to recognize and address because it is only when women and men join hands and make efforts together, will the real gender equality be achieved.
“I take this time to salute all the women of Fiji for their achievements and thank you for all your hardwork and commitment to drive your families and communities towards peace and prosperity,” the Minister for women concluded.
4 OFFICE OF AUDITOR GENERAL (OAG) AND PACIFIC ISLANDS CENTRE FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (PICPA) PARTNER TO STRENGTHEN STAFF CAPACITY
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) in Fiji and the Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration (PICPA) today launched a workshop on Public Sector Auditing.
In delivering his opening remarks, the Auditor General of Fiji Mr Tevita Bolanavanua emphasised the need for ongoing capacity building for OAG staff.
“Over the past few years we have knocked on so many doors for assistance towards capacity building and training for the audit office, and we are ever so thankful that Ausaid, PICPA and the University of the South Pacific have recognised the need for institutional strengthening in the realm of public administration in the Pacific. This will be the first in a series of capacity building and training efforts that we intend to facilitate through PICPA, with a few more to follow throughout the year”.
Mr Bolanavanua added that, “this first training on basic auditing is targeting our fresh graduates some of whom have just signed their contracts this week, and will provide sound orientation to work expected of them at the OAG”.
In his remarks, PICPA Director Siosiua Utoikamanu explained that PICPA was pleased to be able to respond to a request for training in a specific area of need.
Mr Utoikamanu said: “the training taking place today is one of PICPA’s key deliverables, and we are pleased to be able to contribute to this training for the staff of the Office of the Auditor General. He further noted that such investment in capacity building will only “contribute to better matching your skills to the needs of Office of the Auditor General, which we hope will lead to more efficient delivery of services to wider stakeholders particularly the people of Fiji”.
The University of the South Pacific’s Head of the School of Accounting and Finance professor Arvind Patel is facilitating the workshop.
Following on from the workshop launched today, the OAG and PICPA has also tailored a two day course on Ethics and Governance in the Public Sector, targeting senior auditors and audit managers, to be conducted from 27-28 March 2013.
PICPA, based at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, is a specialist centre which responds to the needs and plans identified by Pacific Island Countries for strengthened public administration to enable improved service delivery to their people and foster economic growth.
5 GOVERNMENT DELIVERS ITS PROMISE TO THE WOMEN
Two years ago the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation started with a vision to ensure that all the villages in Fiji have access to sewing machines to establish income generating projects for women in these communities.
In its perseverance to fulfil this vision, the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni this week handed over 230 sewing machines to 100 women groups from Macuata province.
The handing over of sewing machines was part of the Ministry’s International Women’s Day celebrations organised at the Civic Centre in Labasa this week.
Dr Luveni said the sewing machine program has provided an opportunity for her ministry to reach out to communities.
“These machines have been donated by the People’s Republic of China, while others were donated by Government of India and Latter Day Saints Church. Altogether we have managed to have more than 2000 sewing machines for the women,” she said.
Dr Luveni encouraged women in the northern division to put these machines to good use, develop their sewing skills and generate income for their families through sewing clothes.
The women’s minister said that more than 800 women groups in Fiji have received two sewing machines and are making their own clothes and school uniforms.
“More than 20 women resource centres for women have been constructed throughout Fiji in the last two years and there are still more to come. There are poultry farms, fishponds, bee farms, vegetable farms, canteens and bakery projects owned by women. Traditional handicrafts have expanded by products of coconut shells, bamboo as well as products of seaweed,” the Minister for Women said.
Soqosoqo Vakamarama Macuata Province president Mrs Senimili Dyer expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Fijian government for it commitment towards empowering women and making them become more self reliant. .
“These machines provide income-generating opportunities and enable the rural women to develop their sewing skills. I am talking on behalf of all the women in Macuata, these donations are a blessing for us and minister’s presence here today has inspired the women to make a positive change in their communities. Women are agents of change; this message came out clearly in Minister’s speech. We thank the current government for reaching out to the needs of the Macuata women and giving us women an opportunity to improve our livelihood,” Mrs Dyer said.
6 FIJI SPORTS COUNCIL ASSISTS SPORTING FEDERATIONS TO RAISE FUNDS
The Fiji Sports Council in its continuing commitment to sports and events is organising a Sports Federations Market Day to be held this week at the ANZ Stadium car park on Saturday 23rd from 8am – 4.30pm.
The Sports Federation Market Fund Day started last year with three sports federation including Hockey, Karate Fiji and Athletics Fiji who took the initiative to be part of the market day. There were food, books, clothes, shoes, pot plants and old house hold items that were sold on that day.
This month, seven sporting bodies have confirmed participation. The FSC Fund day will be having Va’a paddling, athletics, hockey, taekwondo, netball, soccer and sailing activities.
This year the FSC decided to host a Market Day every last Saturday of the month. The main objective of this event is to assist Sporting bodies, Clubs and Associations affiliated to Federations to raise funds for their respective organisation. This is an exclusive opportunity for National Sports Federations to explore microfinance opportunities for their own organisation! While the FSC is providing the space for free, sporting bodies will need to bring their tents, tables, chairs and items to sell. Funds raised go back to each individual sporting organisation.
The FSC is also inviting families to take advantage of this event as activities have been planned for children.
7 MINISTER FOR LABOUR VISITS LABASA
The Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, Mr Jone Usamate held public consultations yesterday in Labasa to address issues regarding employment.
In line with government’s commitment in bringing its services to the people of Fiji, the Minister emphasised the importance of ensuring social justice, good faith employment relations, safe and productivity driven workplaces in Fiji.
At this consultation, the Minister highlighted that employers and workers should fully exploit the current machineries such as the Mediation Services within the Ministry, to resolve disputes and grievances and at the same time create good faith employment relations.
He also stressed the need to collectively address child labour which he pointed out affects the development of each child engaged in labour practices.
At the consultations, the Minister received issues on unpaid wages, hours of work, overtime pay, unfair termination and requests for the clarification of labour laws.
“To build a better Fiji, it is my responsibility to ensure that workers are treated with fairness and not discriminated against in whatever field of employment they are in,” said Mr. Usamate.
The Minister also held meeting with the Labasa Chamber of Commerce and the CEO of the Labasa Town Council discussing ways how the Ministry can assist in developing decent, productive and safe workplaces.
The Minister is currently meeting with the Seaqaqa general public at the Seaqaqa Police Bure and will later meet the people of Nabouwalu at 2pm, to conclude his Northern tour.
8 WOMEN ISSUES TO BE GIVEN PRIORITY
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is looking to champion women issues in the region says it’s Director General Peter Forau.
Mr Forau is in the country for the Silver Jubilee celebration which ended this week.
He said the MSG under Fiji’s leaderships was putting all its efforts in advancing the women issues within the Melanesian region.
“Now, we (MSG) are working towards taking prerogative measures to address women issues which will be tabled to Leaders during their meet in Noumea in June,” he said.
“The MSG now has put in place platforms to address issues such as national security, climate change, culture and tradition, trade, and now we are working towards protecting and providing the impetus for growth and more recognition of our women”.
Mechanisms put in place by the MSG will see the issues faced by Melanesian women addressed at the highest level.
“We (MSG secretariat) are also working on a platform for women of MSG countries to interact with each other more to share knowledge,” Mr Forau added.