Statement from the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services, Dr. James Fong, Wednesday, 21 April 2021

https://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Centre/Speeches/STATEMENT-PS-FOR-HEALTH-DR-JAMES-FONG-210421

Statement from the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services, Dr. James Fong, Tuesday, 20 April 2021

https://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Centre/Speeches/STATEMENT-FROM-PS-FOR-HEALTH-DR-JAMES-FONG-200421

Hon. PM Bainimarama’s Statement on COVID-19, Monday, 19 April 2021

https://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Centre/Speeches/PM-BAINIMARAMA-S-STATEMENT-ON-COVID-19

Fiji Welcomes Largest-ever Private sector Investment from Japan

The Fijian Government has entered into an agreement under which a consortium, namely Sevens Pacific Pte Limited, owned by Chugoku Electric Power Company (“CEPCO”) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (“JBIC”) will acquire a 44% shareholding in Energy Fiji Limited (“EFL”).

The investment by CEPCO and JBIC is the culmination of an exhaustive process to identify a highly experienced and credentialed international utility to acquire a shareholding in EFL. It was a critical objective of any transaction that the investor not only offer a financial investment to Fiji, but contribute deep operational expertise and experience in electricity generation and networks.

CEPCO’s exceptional track record as an international, integrated electricity utility made them the ideal candidate for the divestment. With CEPCO and JBIC as strategic shareholders, EFL will have the ability to tap into world-leading operational expertise, project delivery experience, technology and financial capacity to support the company in meeting the growing electricity demands of the nation and its renewable energy targets, while also providing reliable, renewable and affordable electricity to all Fijians.

Fiji is wholly committed to an ambitious net-zero carbon emissions target and plans to transition away from fossil fuels and to utilise exclusively renewable energy sources by 2050. With over 50% of EFL’s electricity already generated by renewable sources of hydro, wind and biomass, Fiji is well placed to achieve its long-term targets. The combined expertise and capital of CEPCO and JBIC is expected to dramatically boost this transition.

Acting Minister for Economy, Mr. Faiyaz Koya also announced his full support for the transaction:

“Energy Fiji Limited has found a reputable partner for change in the Chugoku Electric Power Company as it prepares to spearhead Fiji’s transition to carbon neutrality by 2050. Despite the obvious challenges the COVID pandemic has posed for cross-border agreements, Fiji and Japan have capped 50 years of strong diplomatic ties with the single-largest investment ever made by a Japanese company in Fiji. With Chogoku’s operational capacity and expertise at its disposal, EFL can perform better for the Fijians who rely on their services today while transforming into the driving force behind Fiji’s renewable energy revolution.”

The consortium will acquire 44% of shares in EFL, acquiring 24% from Government and 20% from FNPF. As a result of the share purchase, FNPF will fully divest its shareholding in EFL to the consortium. FNPF’s Acting CEO, Viliame Vodonaivalu, who led the initial investment in EFL, expressed his strong support for the transaction and acknowledged the tireless efforts by all employees at EFL in building an outstanding company.

“The opportunity for FNPF to invest in EFL was unique in both the quality and scale of the business and supported our investment strategy to diversify into more growth assets. EFL is an exceptional operation and undoubtedly one of Fiji’s leading corporations, supported by the dedicated efforts of management and employees.

Today we are happy to announce to our members that the investment was a success, yielding excellent returns for them especially given the prevailing economic environment. This will further solidify our financial performance and return capital for reallocation to other investment opportunities.

Following the divestment, the Fijian Government will continue to remain the major shareholder in EFL, retaining a controlling interest of 51% of the shares in EFL while Fijian account holders with shares in EFL continue to hold 5%. Following the signing of the share sale agreement, a number of additional conditions are required to be met before the financial close.

The Government was advised by ANZ Corporate Advisory and Squire Patton Boggs.

(Source: The Fijian Government Website, 26 March 2021)

Fiji Football Association (FFA) Ready to Work with Japan Football Association (JFA)

Fiji Football Association has welcomed the decision of the Japan Football Association (JFA) to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and work along for progress in football.
President Rajesh Patel thanked the Ambassador of Fiji to Japan, His Excellency, Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga for a successful meeting with the JFA President Kohzo Tashima in Japan last week.
Patel and Tashima share a close relationship as they both are FIFA Council Members.
“Fiji FA is ready to work closely with the Japan Football Association in various ways such as sports exchange programs and I would like to thank our Fijian Ambassador to Japan for a successful meeting to create this partnership,” Patel said.
“I already had discussions with JFA President and after a successful meeting between JFA President and the Fijian Ambassador, now we need to work on drafting an MOU between JFA and FFA to set out clearly the areas of cooperation which would include sports team exchange, official’s development programs, Coaching Clinic, etc.
“We are ready to work hand in hand for the benefit of developing and progressing in football.”

Fiji and JICA Reaffirm Commitment To Building Back Better

Strengthened partnership between Fiji and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will enhance opportunities focused on progressive rebuilding and recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and climate induced challenges.

This commitment was articulated today at a courtesy call received by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Immigration and Sugar Industry and Acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yogesh Karan from the new Resident Representative of JICA Fiji Office, Ms. Mayumi Amaike.

At an introductory meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister, PS Karan congratulated Ms. Amaike and wished her well in her new role at the JICA Office in Fiji.

This coincided with a farewell courtesy call from the outgoing Resident Representative of JICA Fiji Office, Ms. Yukari Ono. PS Karan acknowledged Ms. Ono’s leadership during her tenure in Fiji and also conveyed the Fijian Government’s best wishes to Ms. Ono in her future endeavors.

PS Karan thanked JICA for its ongoing assistance to Fiji through infrastructure projects, funding for Disaster Recovery and Rehabilitation, technical assistance in Disaster Risk Reduction and programs contributing to Fiji’s socioeconomic development.

Recognising JICA’s Volunteer programme, PS Karan commended the work of JICA volunteers in their efforts to reach communities in Fiji.

In terms of the cooperation for COVID-19 response, PS Karan said Fiji is currently working with its international development partners in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine, whilst focusing on strategies for economic recovery and building back better.

In response, Ms. Amaike said, “While the three priority areas of “Strengthening the Basics for Economic Growth” (especially Infrastructure and Fishery), “Climate Change and Environment”, “Provision of Quality Social Service” (Health and Education) remain important, we will also work with our partners in Fiji in the COVID-19 pandemic fight.

“There are about 2,400 ex-participants of our programs in Japan. Since I have been in charge of training programs in Japan for the past several years, I would like to seek opportunities to collaborate with them in our programs.

“This is the 37th year of JICAs bilateral cooperation with Fiji, in terms of economic and social development. We are proud of our achievements through our cooperation – for instance construction of critical infrastructure (Water Treatment Plant, Fishery Port, USP, CWM Paediatric hospital, Fiji School of Nursing, Fiji Meteorological Service) as well as countless capacity development through trainings and technical cooperation projects.

“We are grateful for the trust developed overtime with the Fijian Government and its people. Although we are in a difficult time with the pandemic, JICA looks forward to continuing working closely together with the Fijian People,” Ms. Amaike said.

Ms. Ono shared the same sentiments and said that it has been a great honour for her to serve as a first female resident representative of JICA Fiji office, in its 37 years operation. She said during her tenure in Fiji from December 2017 to January 2021, the Japanese Government and JICA’s attention to Fiji and Pacific Region have increased with several new cooperation.

“I’d like to express my hearty appreciation to the Fijian Government and people of Fiji for the kindness rendered to me and all the JICA related personnel. I hope that this cordial relationship will be strengthened and continue into the future.”

(Source: The Fijian Government, 26 February 2021)

https://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Centre/News/FIJI-AND-JICA-REAFFIRM-COMMITMENT-TO-BUILDING-BACK

Fiji Reaffirms Commitment to the Climate Action Momentum

The global efforts to cut emissions, prepare for disasters, and manage displaced people are all inter-connected; none can succeed without the others, that is why all of those issues sit at the heart of Fiji’s climate action agenda.

This message was conveyed today by the Fijian Prime Minister, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama while delivering a statement at the virtual forum on the 5th year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework and the Nansen initiative.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said the Paris Accords, the Nansen initiative and Sendai Framework together with the global commitments promise humanity a better future, and 5 years from their adoptions, it is crucial to collectively reflect on the progress and best way forward.

“And one country, company, and community at a time, humanity is taking steps to decarbonize and become more disaster-resilient. The USA is not only back in this campaign, they are moving aggressively to make climate action a core priority of the new Administration. More countries and companies are announcing actionable commitments to reach net-zero in a few decades – including France and the EU.

“Some of the more vulnerable communities are finding their own ways to adapt – some are relocating. Others are being defended by seawalls. And past tragedies are informing better disaster planning and motivating world leaders, business executives, and entire institutions to build back better after disasters strike,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

Reaffirming Fiji’s commitment to climate actions, Prime Minister Bainimarama said, “We pledge to achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050 – and that commitment will soon be legislated through a ground-breaking climate change Bill. Our National Adaptation Plan maps out a multi-billion-dollar effort to strengthen our climate resilience.

“Our commitment to plant 30 million trees and sustainably manage every square kilometre of our ocean by 2030 could very well mean Fiji becomes a carbon-negative society in the not-too-distant future. And our rapidly-strengthening disaster readiness has led Fiji to become the first nation to achieve Target E of the Sendai Framework.”

The Head of Fijian Government stated Fiji has also begun establishing its own transparent and inclusive processes for managing climate-induced relocation.

“We have identified at least 43 communities that need to be relocated to higher ground due to worsening climate impacts, with six moved already. We have developed and launched the Planned Relocation Guidelines to give affected communities a powerful voice in where, when, and how they are relocated, and ensure that they have clear-income generating opportunities available. And we have launched a Climate Relocation Trust Fund to put badly-needed resources behind that effort.” We’ve dealt with questions that only real experiences can expose, and that only bold and innovative action can solve.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said that working in solidarity to initiate innovative actions is crucial in maintaining the momentum to tackle the challenges posed by climate change.

“I’ve had the privilege of personally handing keys over to families to homes on higher ground after their old houses were lost to a rising Pacific. I know first-hand that, even in our warming world, strong commitments – backed by resources and hard work – can bring hope back into the lives of the most vulnerable of our citizens,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

(Source: The Fijian Government, 04 February 2021)

https://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Centre/News/FIJI-REAFFIRMS-COMMITMENT-TO-THE-CLIMATE-ACTION-MO

Yaqona, Dalo, Cassava, Goat, Sheep, Bees – Top Crop and Livestock Causalities of TC Yasa, Parliament Informed 3-Phase Response and Rehabilitation Plan Developed

Yaqona, dalo, cassava, watermelon and chillies were the top five crops affected following TC Yasa, was one of the findings in the Detailed Damage Assessment (DDA).

Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy told Parliament on Monday (8.2.21) the top five livestock that suffered the highest casualties and injuries were goat, sheep, bees, cattle and horses.

“Total damages to the agriculture sector recorded a value of more than $147m, out of which 94per cent were value of damages on crop, 5.4per cent on livestock and 0.6per cent on infrastructure,” he said.

He said on Zone 1, which was the most affected area according to the cyclone path, crop planting area damage recorded was more than 50per cent of total area and captured value of dead livestock at around $5.2m.

“These findings require a rapid response and a well-coordinated rehabilitation plan to ensure Fijians livelihoods are properly restored,” the Hon. Dr Reddy explained.

Therefore, he said, as lead agency for food security and livelihood cluster, the Ministry was tasked with designing a response and rehabilitation plan for the next six months post TC Yasa for crop, livestock, fisheries and forest sector.

He said a three-phase plan was then developed.

“Phase One was designed to cover the first six weeks after disaster, and included immediate food security plan that targeted over 23,000 households.
“This included some of the work carried out straight after TC Yasa such as distribution of seed packages, kumala and bele cuttings etc.”

Minister Reddy explained Phase 2 covered life-saving rehabilitation plan, sought the rapid recovery of Fiji’s rural productive sector by targeting almost 14,000 agriculture households and prioritized subsistence and semi-commercial farmers that had lost 75per cent or more of their stock.

“It consists of six components – provision of planting material and tools, land clearing and preparation, rehabilitation of infrastructure and repair to farm roads.

“The plan also highlight Fisheries and Forestry area of priorities.”

The Hon. Minister said the third phase of the response and resilience plan facilitated the transition to sustainable development that ensured Fiji was better prepared and resilient to the effects of future natural disasters and climate change.

(Source: The Fijian Government, 10 February 2021)

https://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Centre/News/YAQONA,-DALO,-CASSAVA,-GOAT,-SHEEP,-BEES-TOP-CROP