1. MINISTERIAL CONTACT GROUP 4TH CONSULTATIONS TO BEGIN – The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group will tomorrow hold its consultations with the Fijian Government on the progress Fiji has made in implementing Fiji’s Roadmap towards democratic elections in 2014.
2. FIJI ENVOY PRESENTS CREDENTIALS IN CHILE – Fiji´s Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil, Mr Cama Tuiloma presented his Letters of Credence to H.E Mr. Sebatián Piñera Echenique the President of Chile, as the first Non Resident Ambassador of Fiji to the Republic of Chile.
3. MINISTER TO OPEN NEW WOMEN CENTRE IN KADAVU – The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni will tour Kadavu next week to open the island’s first Women Resource Centre.
4. RETIREMENT PLANNING EXPO TO PROVIDE MORE INFORMATION TO RETIREES – 15 government department officials met this morning to discuss ways of raising awareness on the Retirement Planning Expo scheduled for later this year.
5. TASKFORCE REVIVED TO ELIMINATE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN & CHILDREN – Government has firmed up its partnership with various key stakeholders that are working towards the elimination of violence through the revival of the Inter-Agency Taskforce on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children.
1 MINISTERIAL CONTACT GROUP 4TH CONSULTATIONS TO BEGIN
The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group will tomorrow hold its consultations with the Fijian Government on the progress Fiji has made in implementing Fiji’s Roadmap towards democratic elections in 2014.
During the visit, the Group will meet the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Members of the MCG include the Honorable Edward Natapei of Vanuatu, Honorable Murray McCully of New Zealand, Honorable Apisai Ielemia of Tuvalu, Honorable Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau of Samoa, Honorable Senator Mathew J. Thistlethwaite of Australia and Hon Rimbik Pato of Papua New Guinea.
In view of the visit, Fiji’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said great effort has been achieved in the creation of a better Fiji for all through effective government reforms, creation of a safe law and order environment, rebuilding lost trust between the people and the Government systems and implementing much improved rural-urban connectivity through new and enhanced transport and communications network and a much improved health and education facilities.
Ratu Inoke said Fiji welcomed continued dialogue and hopes the MCG will recognise the immense progress made so far and come up with robust and tangible outcomes which will be of benefit to the region.
2 FIJI ENVOY PRESENTS CREDENTIALS IN CHILE
Fiji´s Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil, Mr Cama Tuiloma presented his Letters of Credence to H.E Mr. Sebatián Piñera Echenique the President of Chile, as the first Non Resident Ambassador of Fiji to the Republic of Chile.
Ambassador Tuiloma was one of the three Non Resident Ambassadors that are based in Brazil who presented their credentials in a ceremony held in the Presidential Palace in Santiago on Thursday 4th April 2013.
Ambassador Tuiloma told President Echenique that Fiji and Chile have enjoyed cordial relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972. He added that while bilateral trade and economic ties between the two nations may only be small, the spirit of deepening friendship and opportunities for cooperation is enabling both countries to pursue stronger trade and economic ties.
With the appointment of its Non Resident Ambassador, Fiji looks forward to deepening its relations through high level exchanges, maximising and expanding its cooperation in trade and investment, tourism, Agriculture and Fisheries, International Peacekeeping and many others, Ambassador Tuiloma said.
Ambassador Tuiloma reaffirmed Fiji´s commitment it stands ready to work with Chile to further deepen friendship, expand communication, and scale up cooperation to take friendly and cooperative relations to a higher level and make “positive contributions towards the well being of our two peoples as well as peace, stability and sustainable development in our two countries and regions”.
On Wednesday 3rd April Ambassador Tuiloma met with the Senior Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is scheduled to meet heads of government Ministries and Departments next week to discuss bilateral cooperation issues.
Apart from being accredited to Chile, Ambassador Tuiloma is also Fiji´s Non Resident Ambassador to Argentina, and Peru and is due to present his credentials in two other Latin American countries soon.
3 MINISTER TO OPEN NEW WOMEN CENTRE IN KADAVU
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni will tour Kadavu next week to open the island’s first Women Resource Centre.
Located at Vunisea village, the new resource centre is designed to create economic opportunities for women in Kadavu.
Vunisea Women’s Group vice president Mrs Lavenia Yavala highlighted the benefit of this project not only for the women but for the village itself.
“We aim to generate income from this Women’s Resource Centre through coordinating our income generating projects and we will also rent this centre as a rest house for the visitors who come to Kadavu.
The net profit will help to improve the lives of women and their families,” Mrs Yavala said.
While in Kadavu, Minister Luveni will also visit Soso and Daku village to hold informal discussions with various communities to explore ways of establishing income generating opportunities.
As part of the ministry’s effort to provide economic opportunities for women in Kadavu, the Minister will also hand over 47 sewing machines to 24 women groups from the following villages in Kadavu; Soso, Yavitu, Joma, Tavuki, Niudua, Vukavu, Kadavu Koro, Nacomoto, Muanisolo, Dravuwalu, Mataso,Namara, Vunisei and Daku.
The visit will give her the opportunity to see firsthand successful incoming generating projects that have been spearheaded by Government including baking and poultry projects.
4 RETIREMENT PLANNING EXPO TO PROVIDE MORE INFORMATION TO RETIREES
Fifteen government department officials met this morning to discuss ways of raising awareness on the Retirement Planning Expo scheduled for later this year.
The expo is jointly organised by the Public Service Commission and Westpac for June this year.
Public Service Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said today’s meeting was to get a feedback from other stakeholders on how to make the expo more worthwhile.
Mr Chand said the commission has been promoting the Fiji Volunteer Service Scheme (FVSS), which is for a targeted audience, civil service retirees.
He said that they had a lot to offer to the communities after their retirement at the age of 55.
“The retirees got involved in areas of national interest on a volunteer engagement basis. Under the Fiji Volunteer Service Scheme, we have placed about 50 volunteers locally and the most attractive part of that is that 18 of them are serving overseas. Twelve in Marshall Islands and six in Nauru,” Mr Chand said.
He said that the commission is committed to seeing more Fijian volunteers serving in every Pacific Island in the next 3-5 years.
“We want to reach out to people. Although it is not a core business for PSC, we feel it is our social obligation to mobilise the bulk of knowledge and skills these people have in terms of retirement and how they continue to contribute to our communities. We do pay them allowances under our Fiji Volunteer scheme,” Mr Chand added.
Fifty per cent of the allowances paid to the volunteers is provided by the PSC while the rest is paid by the host organisation.
“Our 50 per cent allowance for a retiree is $100 per week while for an unemployed youth, it is $50 a week.”
The FVSS has an allocation of $400,000 in this year’s budget.
Westpac Fiji general manager, Adrian Hughes said planning for retirement at an early stage is becoming ever important as a large percentage of the country’s population is moving slowly and gradually to retirement.
“We know that most have not made any tangible retirement plans. Too many of us rely on FNPF to provide the income that we need. The problem in Fiji is that most of us will not have enough money to rely on upon retirement,” Mr Hughes said.
“Many people retiring at 55 still have commitments, family, education, health and hobbies. As a bank, we say these commitments are unfunded unless you have some sort of retirement plan in place.”
A similar expo was organised in Suva, Nakasi and Lautoka last year.
5 TASKFORCE REVIVED TO ELIMINATE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN & CHILDREN
Government has firmed up its partnership with various key stakeholders that are working towards the elimination of violence through the revival of the Inter-Agency Taskforce on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation will house the secretariat of this Taskforce which includes the Fiji Police Force, the Fiji Correctional Services, Solicitor General’s Office and other government ministries including the health, education, provincial development and i-Taukei affairs ministry. The major women Non-Government Organisations in Fiji, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, National Council of Women and Soqosoqo Vakamarama are also part of this taskforce.
Representatives from UN Women, AusAID, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Fiji National University, Empower Pacific and Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) are also members of this Taskforce.
A meeting for the Taskforce was held this morning at the Ministry’s Headquarters and was chaired by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation acting permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta.
In his opening address, Dr Koroivueta reiterated that the role of the Taskforce is to address the gaps and implement effective strategies to eliminate violence against women and children.
“The Ministry looks forward for your partnership and collaboration in working together to eliminate violence against women and children. The taskforce has provided a platform to establish collaborative networks to enhance the strategies and programs in eliminating violence against women and children.
“A work plan has been developed and the Taskforce will undertake the review of Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign and also organize a national summit on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children, this event will coincide with the 16 days of Activism Campaign,” Dr Koroivueta said.