CAPTION: PM Bainimarama at today’s energy forum.
1. REDUCE OUR VULNERABILITY: PRIME MINISTER – PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has challenged the nation’s energy sector to reduce Fiji’s vulnerability by looking at ways of reducing Fiji’s fuel import bill.
2. PRIME MINISTER URGES PUBLIC INPUT TO CONSTITUTION – Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has reiterated the need for the public to read and understand the draft Constitution and provide feedback.
3. EMBRACE CHANGE AND EXCELLENCE – “Public servants need to continuously explore innovative and simpler ways of dealing with their day to day work activities in our joint efforts to improve service delivery to ordinary members of the public.
1 REDUCE OUR VULNERABILITY: PRIME MINISTER
PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has challenged the nation’s energy sector to reduce Fiji’s vulnerability by looking at ways of reducing Fiji’s fuel import bill.
Addressing heads of organisations involved in Fiji’s energy sector at the National Energy Forum today, Prime Minister Bainimarama said incidents in the past such as the oil crisis of the 1970’s and the financial crisis in 2008 have been glaring examples of what the dependence on this commodity can lead to.
“It is imperative to reduce our vulnerability. Energy insecurity does not exist in isolation, it is not a sector problem, it is a threat to the security of our economy, it is threat to the fabric of our society and our very sovereignty as an independent state,” the head of Government said.
“Therefore Fiji’s shift to sustainable energy supply is critical.”
Prime Minister Bainimarama said the Pacific was particularly vulnerable due to reasons such as the inability to influence price in case of cartel, the dependence on fossil fuel for meeting energy needs and being price takers due to the low usage on the global scale.
One of the issues the forum will discuss is the drafting of the National Energy Policy and the Prime Minister has urged the stakeholders to contribute to the policy in order to pave the way of overcoming these vulnerabilities.
Fiji’s oil import bill had tripled in 2008 to $1.2 billion from $400 million in 2004.
Reserve Bank of Fiji governor Barry Whiteside said that the cost of oil imports ‘fuel up’ inflation and has an impact at two different levels in terms of cost to the consumers.
He said the first round effect was when the consumer pays higher prices for the fuel and then when producers of goods and services pass the extra cost of fuel to consumers.
The forum will continue tomorrow and discuss issues such as investment in the energy sector and the progress in the area of alternative energy.
2 PRIME MINISTER URGES PUBLIC INPUT TO CONSTITUTION
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has reiterated the need for the public to read and understand the draft Constitution and provide feedback.
During his recent trip to the western division where he opened a few critical infrastructure projects, the head of government urged the public to ensure that they provide relevant and constructive feedback to ensure that their views are taken into consideration in moving the country forward.
“I would like to remind you that our path to parliamentary democracy is before us. It is marked by a new Constitution and it will take us to elections next year,” he said.
“We will always have to work to perfect our system. But we know where it begins. It begins here, with a Constitution.”
“I urge you all to comment on the draft constitution. Remember, you are now our Constituent Assembly,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.
The Prime Minister said the new Constitution will for the first time in Fiji’s history, guarantee socio-economic rights for every Fijian.
“These include rights to housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, education, adequate food, clean water, a just minimum wage, social security schemes, health services and sanitation. And they also include specific rights for children and the disabled. Day-to-day issues such as these were the focus of many submissions made by ordinary Fijians to the Ghai Commission. That is why they are included in the draft,” the Head of Government said.
“This is your Constitution. It ensures that power lies with Parliament, which is elected and accountable to you the people. There is even a provision that allows for a referendum. None of Fiji’s previous constitutions has ever given so much direct power to the will of the people.”
“It creates a Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission and an Accountability and Transparency Commission. None of Fiji’s previous constitutions has ever created such bodies to keep public officials, civil servants and parliamentarians accountable and create transparency.”
The Prime Minister said these provisions together with others will enable the constitution to stand the test of time and will make it an enduring foundation for a new Fiji.
3 EMBRACE CHANGE AND EXCELLENCE
“Public servants need to continuously explore innovative and simpler ways of dealing with their day to day work activities in our joint efforts to improve service delivery to ordinary members of the public. In doing so, we need to fully embrace change, be prepared to go that extra mile and that we are employed to provide services to the best of our abilities”.
This was the message from Parmesh Chand, Permanent Secretary for Public Service Commission as he opened a Training Programme on Service Excellence conducted by Mr Paul Steel, a world renowned expert on the subject from the United States.
Mr Steel is the President of Total Quality, a company that has served thousands of organizations worldwide since 1991 in achieving all levels of excellence.
Mr Parmesh Chand said that the PSC is fortunate to have the services of Mr Steel for the second consecutive year. He said that the strive for service excellence is a continuous process.
“It requires ongoing commitment and investment in areas such as training, systems improvements, monitoring and evaluation, responsiveness to client feedback, innovation and knowledge sharing and remaining proactive.”
Mr Steel will be in the country until 20 April providing training to evaluators, agency champions, senior executive level officers and all others involved in promoting and facilitating service excellence in the public service.
The Service Excellence Awards Framework has been endorsed by Government as a system and customer approach towards improving organisational systems, processes and services with enhanced productivity and efficiency of the Public Service as the expected outcome.