1. PRIME MINISTER’S MESSAGE TO OUTGOING INDIAN PM, DR MANMOHAN SINGH – Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama has extended his appreciation to the outgoing Prime Minister of Republic of India, Dr Manmohan Singh.
2. VIRGIN COCONUT OIL TRAINING TO ASSIST INCOME GENERATION IN KADAVU – People of Namara village in Kadavu recently underwent a two-day training on the production of Virgin Coconut Oil to assist them in becoming financially independent.
3. GOVERNMENT OVERWHELMED OVER COMPLIANCE ON THE NEW NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE (NMW) RATE –The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment has commended close to 600 employers around Fiji for implementing the national minimum wage (NMW) of $2 per hour.
4. NEW RESOURCE CENTRE READY IN RA – The unwavering effort by Bainimarama Government to increase economic opportunities in rural communities has led to the development of a new infrastructure in Ra which is completed and ready for opening.
5. BUA PROVINCIAL MEETING TO DISCUSS DEVELOPMENT – Developments in Bua under the Look North Policy will be on the agenda of the Bua Provincial Meeting at the Naulumatua House in Nabouwalu tomorrow.
6. COMMONWEALTH UPGRADES DEBT RECORDING SYSTEMS – Following the lifting of sanctions by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Secretariat through its partner the Crown Agents, moved swiftly to upgrade the Commonwealth Secretariat Debt Recording Management Systems (CS-DRMS) currently housed with Ministry of Finance.
1. PRIME MINISTER’S MESSAGE TO OUTGOING INDIAN PM, DR MANMOHAN SINGH
Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama has extended his appreciation to the outgoing Prime Minister of Republic of India, Dr Manmohan Singh.
PM Bainimarama congratulated Dr Singh on the successful completion of his second tenure as Prime Minister of India.
He added that Dr Singh’s leadership of the world’s largest democracy was carried out with honor and distinction in various dimensions, particularly during the past ten years making India a vibrant and fast growing economy.
“I take this opportunity to thank you for the most generous and warm friendship that you extended to me and my government for the past several years that has strengthened our bi-lateral relations and integration in many folds,” PM Bainimarama said.
“I wish you good health, your country prosperity and its people happiness. Please accept the assurances of my prayers and God’s blessings upon you and your nation.”
PM Bainimarama wished every success to Dr Manmohan Singh in his future endeavours.
2. VIRGIN COCONUT OIL TRAINING TO ASSIST INCOME GENERATION IN KADAVU
People of Namara village in Kadavu recently underwent a two-day training on the production of Virgin Coconut Oil to assist them in becoming financially independent.
The training which was conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture will help the people of the village earn a living through using coconuts which are readily available on the island.
“Coconuts are readily available on the island and the only thing the people have to do is collect them and make VCO to earn for their family living,” said Principal Agricultural Officer Eastern, Mere Salusalu.
Mrs Salusalu reminded the participants to join the Ministry’s “Plant a Million Coconut Tree” in order continue reaping benefits of coconuts.
“The “Plant a Million Coconut Tree” campaign started in 2013 and will end in 2015 so the people should plant as many coconut trees as possible for their future needs,” Mrs Salusalu said.
As part of the training, the Ministry also invited VCO exporter ‘Nature’s Gift’ manager, Sereana Qoro to meet and network with the 50 participants.
Mrs Qoro said she was privileged to personally meet the producers of VCO and discussed the quality of VCO requirements for the Korean market.
She encouraged the women to be bold and confident in making VCO a business option.
“The producers should keep in mind that to maintain a good price they should supply quality VCO,” said Mrs Qoro.
Meanwhile, the president of the Nasogoika VCO’s club in the Namara village, Alumita Kinivuwai, said the training provided by the Ministry was greatly appreciated by the participants.
Mrs Kinivuwai also thanked the Ministry for the recent assistance provided to the group in terms of coconut scrapper and press and generator.
3. GOVERNMENT OVERWHELMED OVER COMPLIANCE ON THE NEW NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE (NMW) RATE
The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment has commended close to 600 employers around Fiji for implementing the national minimum wage (NMW) of $2 per hour.
Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment Jone Usamate said, Labour inspectors visited these employer between the months of March and April and did not find any case of employers paying below the minimum wage rate.
Mr Usamate said this is a significant achievement for the current Fijian Government as it is a first time ever for Fiji to enact such a legislation.
“My ministry has recorded that majority of workplaces inspected for the informal sectors have been paying above the national minimum wage rate and I sincerely thanked those employers for their cooperation in ensuring social justice through providing decent wages to its workers,” Mr Usamate said.
“During these inspections, we found out that a number of employers are not issuing pay slips, and this is a concern. Where necessary spot fines have been imposed to ensure that the rights of workers are looked after,” he added.
The Minister highlighted that those employers who breach the labour law will be penalized.
“This has resulted in the issuance of a total of 24 on-the-spot fines of $100 each to 24 employers which amounted to a total of $2,400 in fines.”
Mr Usamate highlighted that a total of 50 cases on unfair dismissal in the NMW sector have been received by the ministry for 34 male and 16 female workers within the first two months of the NMW implementation.
The Minister urges all employers to comply with the provisions of the labour law and to ensure that all workers are treated fairly.
At the same time, Mr Usamate urged all workers to give their best to their employers in terms of their skills, time, effort and loyalty.
“Fiji will perform at its best when all employers provide what the law says should be provided for their workers, and when workers give of their best for their employers. My Ministry wants to see that we have decent and productive work in Fiji. We want a Fiji where workers are looked after, and in which all workplaces are as productive as possible,” Mr Usamate said.
4. NEW RESOURCE CENTRE READY IN RA
The unwavering effort by Bainimarama Government to increase economic opportunities in rural communities has led to the development of a new infrastructure in Ra which is completed and ready for opening.
The new Nativi Women’s Resource Centre in Nativi village, Nalaba district in Ra has been built with a funding of $27,000 from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
During her official visit to Western Division last week, Minister Dr Jiko Luveni and her team paid a monitoring visit to the project and were amazed to see the centre being displayed with handicrafts and items made from kuta.
Nativi Women’s Club president, Uliana Nabole said the Centre will boost their income generating and also encourage the use of local resources that are available in abundance.
“The village has a population of 300 and there are 74 women in this village who depend on subsistence farming and selling handicrafts to earn money for their families. In previous years, we didn’t have a place to conduct our women’s meeting or even organise trainings and do weekly activities. We had written directly to the Ministry requesting to have such a facility and were amazed with the quick responses received.
“Some of the women are able to earn $200 to $300 a month and thus the core product for this centre would be kuta. Now given the new Centre, women will be able to make more Kuta and even market it in Lautoka and Suva. The women have already been trained on making different patterns of kuta through a workshop that was organised by the ministry of itaukei affairs,” Mrs Nabole said.
One of the new opportunities opened through this centre will be production of Fiji’s locally produced fish crackers. This would be possible through the Ministry’s partnership with the Republic of Indonesia to assist with the required skills and equipment needed to produce the fish crackers.
“Through our discussions with minister for women today, we are also looking forward to produce fish crackers particularly given that we have plenty of tilapia in the nearby river. We are grateful to the Dr Luveni for her continued support in ensuring that this much needed development comes to reality,” Mrs Nabole added.
Dr Luveni said that apart from promoting the economic development in Nativi, the Centre it will also be a platform to advocate on women’s right and leadership. The village has also shown interest to join the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign.
Village headman for Nativi, Samuela Luba said the Centre will enable males and females to work together to improve the lives of their families.
“The women in this village have contributed a lot to their families and after all these years they have finally found a medium through which they can enhance their skills and also become financially independent. The centre will also be instrumental in providing the income generating for single mothers, widows and unemployed youths, it is a development that will benefit the entire community,” Mr Luba said.
The women resource centres are major capital projects for the Ministry and to date, it has built a total of 45 women centre extensions and 16 women resource centres around Fiji.
5. BUA PROVINCIAL MEETING TO DISCUSS DEVELOPMENT
Developments in Bua under the Look North Policy will be on the agenda of the Bua Provincial Meeting at the Naulumatua House in Nabouwalutomorrow.
The two day meeting will see chiefs and government heads in the Northern Division discussing the developments and issues being faced by the Bua people.
The meeting will also discuss successful projects benefitting the people of Bua.
Divisional Commissioner Northern, Alipate Bolalevu said the first day of discussion will see government heads in the North presenting government projects of the Bua province and major developments that have already taken place.
He said the Bua Provincial Council will discuss their budget on day two of the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Bua Soqosoqo Vakamarama will also be part of the meeting.
The group secretary Ana Ratuilagi said since the opening of their Womens Centre last month, the demand for school uniforms have increased.
“At the meeting we will bring up the need to increase our budget from the $2,000 we were receiving to at least $5,000.
“We will also be requesting each tikina representatives to inform the schools and parents about our centre,” Mrs Ratuilagi said.
The Roko Tui Bua’s office secretary, Joseva Tuqiri said the meeting will see government representatives and each tikina representatives and chiefs working together for the betterment of Bua’s development and economical strategies.
6. COMMONWEALTH UPGRADES DEBT RECORDING SYSTEMS
Following the lifting of sanctions by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Secretariat through its partner the Crown Agents, moved swiftly to upgrade the Commonwealth Secretariat Debt Recording Management Systems (CS-DRMS) currently housed with Ministry of Finance.
This system has been used by Government since it became a member of the Commonwealth; for recording, monitoring and evaluating our foreign denominated loans and domestic securities.
For the last two weeks, Crown Agents consultant John Corkill has been working closely with Debt & Cashflow Management Unit (DCFMU) of the Ministry of Finance in transferring, validating and updating data into the new version.
The last update done to the system was in 2005. In this exercise, the Fijian system will shift from version 1.2 to the latest version 1.3 Service Pack II.
Some of the benefits of the new version include management tools for developing borrowing strategy and for conducting stress testing and enabling the government to report its public debt statistics to international standards.
The DCFMU officials together with auditors from Auditor General Office were part of the team working with Mr Corkill in this upgrade.