The International Monetary Fund has downgraded the global growth forecast for 2013 to 3.3 percent, from 3.5 percent growth anticipated earlier in January.
The overwhelmingly positive response to the Draft Constitution and the process of public consultation has prompted the Government to extend the deadline for submissions until the end of the month. The existing extended deadline of April 26th has been moved to April 30th – covering an extra weekend and two more business days. It gives the Government’s legal team more time to hold public meetings in other parts of the country and to conduct more talkback radio sessions. The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, said the program of public consultation – which includes Nadi and Sigatoka on Monday, will be extended to Taveuni and Savusavu later this week and Kadavu, the Yasawas and other parts of the country at dates to be announced.
“The existing provisions of the Draft have been warmly accepted but, of course, people are asking for clarification on some aspects and we want to engage with them personally,” PM Bainimarama said. The Prime Minister said the public meetings that had already been held in Suva, Labasa, Lautoka and Ba had been a great success. “When people have the provisions explained to them, it’s clear that a great many are satisfied with the document. But as we’ve said all along, we are open to suggestions about how it can be improved.”
The Prime Minister said that while he would have preferred a longer consultation process, time was of the essence. “We need to get the Constitution finalized as soon as possible. So it’s a balancing act between this process and our absolute need to meet the election deadline of September next year. We have 17 months at the most to process the public’s submissions on the Constitution, implement the document, organize the mechanics of the election itself, conduct public education and awareness of the electoral system and begin the political phase,” he said.
The PM said the Government was delighted with the level of public interest being shown in the consultation process. Despite the claims of some politicians, the decision to take the Draft document direct to the country has been a great success. The meetings – conducted by the Attorney General and his team are being well attended and conducted in a spirit of cooperative nation-building.
“The quality of the questions and the submissions also demonstrate that ordinary citizens are not only engaged with the process but have given our constitutional future a lot of thought. I commend them for their interest, their ideas and their desire to move forward and I urge everyone to take advantage of the extended deadline for submissions,” he said.
Submissions on the Draft Constitution will now be accepted up until the close of business on Tuesday, April 30th.
The Reserve Bank of Fiji transferred $35.4 million to the Fijian Government today.
As part of the commitment to strengthen Fiji’s agricultural sector including need to build capacity, government will now provide assistance to the Navuso Agricultural school in Nausori. The Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last week visited the school to identify ways that government can improve conditions including the resources used by students. During his visit, the head of government spoke to management and students on government’s intentions on strengthening the agriculture sector.
“The important places that we are looking at developing are the student’s dormitories, the piggery and the school’s milking shed,” PM Bainimarama said.
“We have to relocate the piggery and the milking shed if we want to improve the production standard of these school projects,” the Prime Minister said.
He also stressed that sanitation was also an important factor that both management and students need to focus on.
“Since everything begins with the students; their dormitories and surroundings need to be clean.”
“We will provide water blasters and brush cutters to be used by the students to help keep their school clean and improve sanitation,” PM Bainimarama said.
Navuso Agricultural School manager Reverend Malakai Tuikadavu was extremely pleased with the visit by the Prime Minister and government officials today.
“I regard this visit by the Prime Minister as a blessing for existing students in the agriculture programme. I am also very thankful that the PM is committed towards carrying out developments here in Navuso,” Rev Tuikadavu said.
There are currently 65 students enrolled with the agricultural programme.