CAPTION: Diplomatic Signing at the Fiji Mission in New York.
1. MINISTER URGES WOMEN PARTICIPATION TO REDUCING POVERTY – Reducing poverty to a negligible level can be achieved through the empowerment of women, who comprise 49 percent of Fiji’s total population says the Minister for Women, Dr Jiko Luveni.
2. RENOVATION WORKS AT STADIUM ON SCHEDULE – The Fiji Sports Council has announced that renovation and construction works to the ANZ National Stadium will meet its deadline despite the setbacks faced.
3. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS – The Central African Republic and the Republic of Fiji formalised diplomatic relations at a ceremony at the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, 22nd January 2013.
4. NEW JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE) FOR FIJIANS – The Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Mr. Jone Usamate confirmed that there are employment opportunities available in the United Arab Emirates for Fijians across a number of sectors.
5. MEETING TO FOCUS ON REVIVING COCONUT INDUSTRY – Reviving Fiji’s coconut industry will be the key focus of this year’s 49th Asia Pacific Coconut Committee meeting scheduled next week in Nadi.
6. SENIOR OFFICIALS CHALLENGED TO GO THE EXTRA MILE – More than ten senior executives at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Public Utilities today began their two day Leadership Primer or Workshop for 2013.
1 MINISTER URGES WOMEN PARTICIPATION TO REDUCING POVERTY
Reducing poverty to a negligible level can be achieved through the empowerment of women, who comprise 49 percent of Fiji’s total population says the Minister for Women, Dr Jiko Luveni.
Speaking at the handing over of 600 sewing machines by the People’s Republic of China, the Minister said that the empowerment of women progresses to a higher level of improved livelihood and the impact on poverty alleviation is profound.
“Government is committed to women empowerment. As reiterated by the Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, women are the backbone of their families and communities and we want to provide more women with the skills and education,” the Minister said.
“This year there is a budgetary allocation of $1,010,000 (the largest annual allocation ever), to enable the Ministry to implement our planned development programs.”
Expressing her appreciation for the assistance to the People’s Republic of China, Minister Luveni said that the handing over ceremony today was evidence of the commitment by the People’s Republic of China to contribute towards the economic empowerment of women in Fiji.
Ambassador for the People’s Republic of China to Fiji, His Excellency, Mr Huang Yong said that the donation of sewing machines by the All China Women’s Federation indicated the friendship and support by the women in China to the women in Fiji.
“In 2013, my embassy will be more than happy to continue to work with your Ministry to improve the livelihood of people of Fiji and do our own contribution to the ever-growing China-Fiji relationship,” Ambassador Huang said.
The secretariat of the Fiji-China Friendship Association is expected to be set up at the Fiji Women’s Federation office in the near future.
2 RENOVATION WORKS AT STADIUM ON SCHEDULE
The Fiji Sports Council has announced that renovation and construction works to the ANZ National Stadium will meet its deadline despite the setbacks faced.
This morning the Sports Council briefed media outlets around the country on works currently being carried out at the site and pointed out that despite the delays faced, both the contractors and the council have worked out a way forward to complete works by April this year.
At the joint press conference held between chairman Mr Peter Mazey and chief executive officer Mrs Litiana Loabuka, media outlets were informed on the various stages of works that been carried out so far and those works that remain to be completed.
Highlighting various fixtures that are now being put in place at the stadium, Mrs Loabuka said that this is something that have held them back from hosting various events at the site.
“Most of the infrastructure and features that you see today have never been there before so getting these allows us to host more events on site and at the same time, comply with international standards”.
Earlier this year the council announced that the delay in supply of materials for renovation works had significantly pushed the deadline forward. Further delays caused by Tropical Cyclone Evan forced the council to relook at extending deadlines. However the council was approached by contractors in the last 24 hours who advised them that despite the delays, they remain committed to completing works on time.
The sports council reiterated government’s support in ensuring that the project would go ahead without any delays.
“The Prime Minister and his Government have been our biggest backers here and what you see could not have been achieved without their support”, Mr Mazey said.
“While we thank them, it is the athletes of Fiji that will be the biggest beneficiaries and I am sure we will see more Olympic Gold Medals thanks to the facilities being created here today”.
3 CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
The Central African Republic and the Republic of Fiji formalised diplomatic relations at a ceremony at the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, 22nd January 2013.
The Permanent Representative of the Central African Republic to the United Nations, Ambassador Charles-Armel Doubane and his Fiji counterpart, Ambassador Peter Thomson, signed a joint communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the two developing nations.
The communiqué expresses the desire of the Republics of Fiji and the Central African Republic to establish their diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and in conformity with the United Nations Charter and international law. The communiqué calls for the promotion of mutual understanding and the strengthening of friendship and cooperation among the peoples of the two republics.
Following the formalisation ceremony, Ambassadors Doubane and Thomson held talks on areas of common interest between their two countries. Ambassador Thomson reported on the steady progress of the Fiji Roadmap towards the achievement of sustainable democracy in 2014. The ambassadors discussed the important features of the G77’s 2013 agenda and the importance of accelerating positive progress in international Climate Change negotiations.
4 NEW JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE) FOR FIJIANS
The Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Mr Jone Usamate confirmed that there are employment opportunities available in the United Arab Emirates for Fijians across a number of sectors.
He said that they are working very closely with Fiji’s envoy to the UAE, Ambassador Robin Nair who has been working tirelessly to secure jobs for Fijians in his negotiations with potential employers in the UAE.
Mr Usamate revealed that the newly commissioned Foreign Employment Service (FORES) of the Ministry’s National Employment Centre (NEC) is working relevant agencies to secure and process employment opportunities.
The first three employment markets that are targeted in the UAE include the security, tourism and health care sectors. We intend to exploit Fijian workers strengths in these areas which we are internationally renowned for. However, other sectors such as retail trades, call centre and seafarers are also under consideration since 80% of UAE’s populations are foreign workers servicing lucrative international businesses with demand for good communication English is an asset.
Mr Usamate added that the first batch of tourism candidates was sent by FORES to the UAE for finalisation by clients last month, and a pioneering candidate was accepted this month and is working in an upper end 5 Star Hotel in UAE. A second batch of candidates for health care workers is requested by the UAE clients last weekend which is advertised in the Fiji Sun today – a total of 25 vacancies. The Expressions of Interest in this area include Nurses (11 categories), physiotherapist, lab technologist, lab technician, radiographer, radiographer technician, anesthesia technician, EEG technologist, EEG Technician, general practitioner, audiologist, dietician, pharmacist, caregiver and mid-wife.
The Minister advised potential applicants that the UAE market is very competitive as Fijian workers will be assessed by the UAE clients against other applicants from the rest of the world considering the fact that other workers from the Americas and Europe are also seeking work in the UAE in the wake of the US and European financial and economic crisis. However, he is confident that we can hold our own against these challenges based on the proven versatility of our workers in the international arena.
On this note, he emphasised that the FORES has developed a comprehensive and modern International HRM best practice governance framework benchmarked to ISO 9001:2008, ISO 26000 and Business Excellence criteria on which to assess applicants to ensure that all the clients’ specifications for candidates are more than adequately met. Mr. Usamate revealed that this modern framework does not only assess the core technical competencies of applicants, but also the essential generic skills and needed behavioral skills compatible with the religious, cultural and social values of the host country, including the legal, political, economic, security, technological and other environmental factors.
Our UAE Ambassador and his newly appointed Counselor, including the newly appointed 3rd Secretary to our Fiji High Commission to PNG, have been thoroughly briefed on this procedure on separate occasions this month to facilitate exporting of Fijian workers to both UAE and MSG countries under the FORES framework.
The FORES has also designed a modern and progressive value-based pre-departure training package and counseling sessions for successful candidates to be exported to the UAE and MSG countries based on the anticipated challenges faced by Fijian workers overseas.
The Minister is hopeful that the negotiations in the UAE and under the MSG framework will bear fruits so that Fijian workers will be exported under Government’s newly established Foreign Employment Service. He also confirmed that 100 security personnel have been processed under the Ministry of Defense targeting the UAE market for regularisation under the FORES.
5 MEETING TO FOCUS ON REVIVING COCONUT INDUSTRY
Reviving Fiji’s coconut industry will be the key focus of this year’s 49th Asia Pacific Coconut Committee meeting scheduled next week in Nadi.
Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Mr Ropate Ligairi highlighted this at a briefing held this morning at the launching of the ‘Plant a Million Coconut Tree’ campaign.
“The coconut industry has been regarded as global economic importance and we need to capitalise on these initiative to either replant or plant more coconut trees for better returns,” Mr Ligairi said.
The “Plant a million trees program” will continue for the next three years until the initial target is achieved.
The campaign will be launched at Yadua village in Nadroga with village elders and delegates from the forum participating in the exercise.
Mr Ligairi confirmed that field officers have been assigned to monitor and encourage the people to plant more coconut trees for our future generation.
6 SENIOR OFFICIALS CHALLENGED TO GO THE EXTRA MILE
More than ten senior executives at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Public Utilities today began their two day Leadership Primer or Workshop for 2013.
Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations Mr Jone Usamate, while officially opening the two day workshop, reiterated good and sound leadership expected from senior executives of the ministry and the civil service as a whole.
Mr Usamate also challenged the participants to go the extra mile in understanding the vision of the Government and the ministry.
He said it is encouraging to see the emphasis on training as it always helps.
“This is a huge investment for the Ministry to put this together- there is a huge opportunity cost in getting this workshop going. You must make sure that the objectives of the workshop are achieved,” Mr Usamate said.
The minister also reminded the senior executives that as leaders of the Ministry of Works and Transport, strong loyalty to the Government of the day, respect for each other and promoting good governance and the rule of law must be at their fingertips.
“You must showcase the values because your actions as leaders show the real values of the ministry. The ministry needs strong leadership. Three attributes of good leadership are being direct, decisive and driving performance,” Mr Usamate said.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua, who was one of the guest speakers, called on the participants to set good examples for their staff.
Naivalurua also said leaders need to be tough decision makers for the betterment of their organizations.
The Ministry conducted a similar exercise for the same period in 2012 which focused on team building.