Friday, November 23, 2007

Fijian Affairs Downgraded

Fijian Affairs surprise

Saturday, November 24, 2007

IN a surprise move, the interim Government has downgraded the Ministry of Fijian Affairs to department level.

Interim Fijian Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau declined to comment on the development.

The Budget Estimates index said the ministry was now a Department of Indigenous Affairs, Provincial Development and Multi-Ethnic Affairs while Page 46 of the publication referred to the entity as a ministry.

It is understood the department will now come under the Office of the interim Prime Minister.

The Fijian Affairs Ministry was responsible for the preservation of the different cultures in Fiji, lease and land administration, education assistance and rural development.

The ministry was also responsible for the Native Land Trust Board and the Great Council of Chiefs two institutions under close scrutiny by the interim administration. Both have undergone extensive reviews.

It is understood that the restructure of the ministry is in line with the Cabinet reshuffle interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will announce in a week's time.

The confusion was also evident in the Budget Estimates book, with Pages 44 to 45 of the book empty, with the heading 'Refer to Page 24 and 25 for Public Enterprise Reform', as last minute changes were made late last night to some aspects of the restructure and reshuffle.

Once the change is implemented, Commodore Bainimarama will take on the responsibility of implementing a People's Charter which has an allocation of $4.6million. This will also include the Department of Information, which was also downgraded in the new Budget.

The Ministry of Industrial Relations, Employment, Youth and Sports has also been merged with Youth and Sports.

The Ministry of Agriculture has become the Ministry of Primary Industries and has merged with the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests.

The Ministry of Works has merged with Transport and Energy. The ministry was allocated $251million compared to $235million in the 2007 revised Budget.

The Ministry of Tourism has merged with Trade, Industry and Communication. The Ministry of Public Enterprise and the Public Service Commission will also come under the ambit of the interim Prime Minister's Office.

The Attorney General's office and the Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Sugar remain the same.

Illegal Regime's Budget 2008

The ups and downs of State expenditure

Saturday, November 24, 2007

THE State has announced a $1.52billion Budget with $1.2billion to be spent mostly on wages. Capital expenditure will take up $269million.

Allocations by department were:

-Office of the President, $1.56million (compared to $1.6million this year); Prime Minister's Office and People's Charter for Change, $5.14m ($5.64m for 2007);

-Public Service Commission and Public Enterprise, $13.7m ($13.9m);

-Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Sugar Industry, $90.24m ($104.3m);

-Ministry (Department) of Provincial Development, Indigenous and Multi-Ethnic Affairs, $45.9m ($47.2m);

-Ministry of Defence, National Security and Immigration, $5.3m ($5.4m);

-Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Co-operation and Civil Aviation, $20.94m ($21.13m);

-Office of the Auditor General, $3.17m ($2.81m);

-Elections Office, $4.24m ($707,000);

-Judiciary, $12.38m ($12.11m);

-Legislature, $1.01m ($1.48m);

-Office of the Ombudsman, $1.47m ($1.42m);

-Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, $4.6m ($3.89m);

-Ministry of Justice, $2.01m ($2.12m);

-Fiji Prisons Service, $13.7m ($13.5m);

-Department of Information, $4.42m ($6.5m);

-Fiji Military Forces, $81.5m ($80.7m);

-Fiji Police Force, $70.53m ($69m);

-Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts, $25.5m ($26.1m);

-Ministry of Health, $139.5m ($150.8m);

-Department of Local Government and Urban Development, $3.52m ($3.96m);

-Ministry of Housing Women and Social Welfare, $32.2m ($29.2m);

-Ministry of Industrial Relations, Employment Youth and Sport, $12.43m ($13.32m);

-Ministry of Primary Industries, $58.7m ($62m);

-Ministry of Lands, Mineral Resources and Environment, $40.75m ($47.9m);

-Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Trade and Communications, $31.27m ($30.6m);

-Ministry of Transport, Works and Energy, $251.1m ($235.6m).

Monday, November 12, 2007

No charter yet, says Chand

Monday, November 12, 2007

A PEOPLE'S Charter has not been formulated yet because all there is so far is a proposal to develop a charter, says permanent secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, Parmesh Chand.

He said that in that regard, there was an extensive awareness and consultation campaign under way.

"Its objective is to explain to ordinary people the processes, the steps and the deliberations which will take place," Mr Chand said.

He said these changes would help develop a People's Charter for change and Progress over a period of 12-14 months.

"The Office of the Prime Minister therefore encourages members of the public and relevant stakeholders to express their views and to be part of the process to develop the charter," he said.

Mr Chand was reacting to comments made by Rewa one of the three largest provinces rejecting the proposed People's Charter for Building a Better Fiji. The province said it disagreed with efforts to ignore the existence of indigenous Fijians.

Ro Dona Takalaiyale, the leader of the Sauturaga clan and spokesman of the Rewa Bose Vanua, issued Rewa's position in a statement last week.

Ro Dona described the charter as "a creation of non-racial Fiji and written by two foreigners without input from Fijians or their elected representatives".

He also voiced concern about interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's statements about his desire to abolish all communal seats through the People's Charter.

"Also Lt-Col Mataitoga's statement that Affirmative Action will be abolished under the charter. Also the charter is inconsistent with the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People's Article 3-5 where indigenous people are entitled to participate in the political life of the state," Ro Dona said.

"It is inconsistent with the 1997 Constitution where race is recognised as an integral element of the nation of Fiji."

Ro Dona said the Bose Vanua resolved to boycott any referendum or election that would be influenced by the charter.