Parliament

Live Blog: Parliament April 27

The April sitting of the Parliament of Fiji started on Monday. The Order Paper for today’s session is available for download here.  The live stream for Parliament is available here. Ministerial statements Minister for Disaster Management, Hon. Inia Seruiratu SERUIRATU: “The focus is on resilience at the government level and local-government level” 2.50pm: Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa […]

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April 27, 2016 9:55 am

The April sitting of the Parliament of Fiji started on Monday. The Order Paper for today’s session is available for download here.  The live stream for Parliament is available here.

Ministerial statements

  • Minister for Disaster Management, Hon. Inia Seruiratu

SERUIRATU: “The focus is on resilience at the government level and local-government level”

2.50pm: Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca called to ‘decentralise’ Disaster response.

TIKOCA: “That is why Australia and New Zealand reached the affected areas first.”

2.52pm: National Federation Party Leader Dr Biman Prasad expressed concern about the lack of water in urban centres. Dr Prasad said there was a bottleneck in decision-making in times of disaster.

PRASAD: “In the next 10-15 years, we would be looking at two-thirds of the population living in urban centers…”


  • Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Hon. Semi Koroilavesau

KOROILAVESAU: “Seasonal workers program has received media attention for the last past months. I just came back from Australia on Sunday. Fiji is very grateful for Australia and New Zealand assistance in this. We started our visit in farm and we had an opportunity to talk to these farmers and their expertise.”

“The pastoral care services provide provision with meals and accommodation services.”

“We only covered two states on my visit inAustraliaa and discusses the expectation of the stakeholders.”

“We also got feedback from farmers that they need some people due to huge land mass of farm they have in Australia.”

“We met with Julie Bishop and she confirmed Australia’s support through the TC Winston relief.”

“Madam Speaker, we met with one of the employers who employed 153 Fijians and we also visited some locals in their accommodation.”

“One thing is very obvious that we need to send the right people to make the scheme work, we need to improve a good relationship and to provide a better relationship.”

In response to the Ministerial statement Hon. Ratu Sela Nanovo said:

NANOVO: “I would like to thank the New Zealand and Australian government for their assistance. I would like to thank the government for providing such schemes because our economy can’t provide employment for the 40,000 something that is unemployed at the moment.

“We heard from the Minister that the farmers have a high expectation and when the first schemes was introduced it only employed people from rural and this have changed. I think the minister has to analyse the group of people before sending them because there is a huge expectation from them.”

Also in response Opposition member Hon. Tupou Draunidalo said:

DRAUNIDALO: “Australia and New Zealand has a lot of people. We would encourage the Minister to put through cabinet ideas and plans to open up the other visa programs or worker permit programs in Australia and New Zealand to the citizens of Fiji, we are not just people who can pick apple and pears in Australia and New Zealand we are worth so much more Madam Speaker and we would encourage the Minister and his government to work harder towards that.


  • Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Laisenia Tuitubou.

Strengthening Youth Development

TUITUBOU: “We need all citizens in Fiji to play their role. 45% of youths are employed. All youth development should empower and they need to be surrounded with a sports environment to bring out their talents. They need a credibility trainning from different universities.”

“I would like to thank His Excellency, the President for expecting the youth credibility also on youth development. We have worked well with the Ministry of Health to promote our healthy strategy and our tourism industry for the work being.”

“We will also work with the Ministry of Agriculture to provide an audit and we work with the Ministry of Employment with seasonal work and also with athletes for studies in overseas. Sports in Fiji have demonstrated over the years. This government through  its Youth and Sports we make sure that our man and women’s ability that we need to focus on.”

“NCD’s as we have is the main killer in Fiji, we will also work on safeguarding our athletes this year. Fiji is on the verge of getting its first gold medal in the Rio Olympics.”

“The 2015 sports awards, shows a good governance sports award which means that the government is moving forward and is promoting good governance.”

In response to the ministerial statement Opposition Member Hon. Ratu Suliano Matanitobua said:

MATANITOBUA: “The youth in the provincial and the urban areas plays a fundamental role in the country. Since 2006, we have been hearing that the youths can move us forward. The Ministry of Youth can do better through voluntary program and leadership programs.”

“Fiji needs to build young and powerful people and Fiji needs to build young and leadership people. I hope the ministry of youth will take note to make Fiji better.”

Also in response Opposition member Hon. Tupou Draunidalo said:

DRAUNIDALO: “I would like to commend the work of the ministry being done by our youths. We are now in a global village which technological advanced, we would like the minister for youth to branch out to outer islands. We need the minister to go out and facilitate the youths with sports facilities especially those in the north and interior.”


Parliamentary Questions

Question: Hon. Netani Rika to ask the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management:

“Tropical Cyclone Winston has left a massive impact on the infrastructure and the environment, which is now being addressed by relevant Ministries, however – Can the Minister brief this House what plans are there in place to deal with those affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Response: Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu said:

SERUIRATU: “Madam speaker I am answering the question this morning. It is a health capacity question. It is a physiological order. It is a health order. If it is not addressed properly that why this is important since the state of declaration, we tend to forget about people during rehabilitation. It is something that doesn’t post immediately.”

“It can take to four to five weeks when people tend to show signs. Physiological support it is simply talking to the people, as when you talk to the people and venting out there frustration that is physiological support. The physiological support it’s more of a therapy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has provided the government with aid in order to help the people.”

Supplementary Questions:

Hon. Salote Radrodro:

RADRODRO: “How is the ministry or disaster council coordinating this or a written plan coordinating this? No counselling services has been provided in parliment?”

Response:

SERUIRATU: “Lifeline in NZ will be in Vanua Balavu and the cluster plan will also be placed in Vanua Balavu.The humanitarian plan is a plan.”

Hon. Mosese Bulitavu:

BULITAVU: “What are the plans of the NDMO what to do and of their treatment?”

Response:

SERUIRATU: “We have a disaster community right in the village level and this village level will give the village members will give them the community and community health. For future plans we have discussed with other agencies to do workshop and train for this purpose.”


Question: Hon. Alivereti Nabulivou to ask the Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration:

“Can the Minister inform this House on the full resources that the Republic of Fiji Military Forces utilised during pre and post Tropical Cyclone Winston.”

Response: Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration Hon. Timoci Natuva:

NATUVA: “RFMF had already mobilised its trainning officers during post Tropical Cyclone Winston. 276 officers were used for operation. Officers worked for 34134 hours in a week. They cleaned debris,assisted Australia and New Zealand Defence Force. From day one the RFMF the military forces was deployed in different places.”

“I acknowledge and salute the RFMF for the work done. RFMF has also been one of the first government company to donate fund. If there was no RFMF during disaster than there would be a big gap.”


Question: Hon. Mataiasi Niumataiwalu to ask the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations:

“Can the Minister inform this House on the total number of workers compensation cases that had been paid out so far this year.”

Response: Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Hon. Semi Koroilavesau:

KOROILAVESAU:

Supplementary Questions:

Hon. Jiosefa Dulakiverata:

“I thank the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations for the answer to that question, some people have taken a long time for their case to be head? How many cases are still pending 2006 – 2014 and when will the cases will be attended to?”

Response: 

KOROILAVESAU: The cases is being refered to injury and death.


Question: Hon. Jilila Kumar to ask the Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration:

“Can the Minister inform this House on the number of dual citizenship granted under the Citizens Decree of 2009 and the benefits to all Fijians.”

Response: Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration Hon. Timoci Natuva:

NATUVA: “The dual citizenship can stay in the country for as long as they want. The dual citizenship will have the same freedom to vote like any other citizens in Fiji and have excess to medical.”

“Foreigners that need to provide for citizenship will need some expertise.”

Question: Hon. Prof. Biman Prasad to ask the Minster for Health and Medical Services:

“Would the Minister inform Parliament if the Ministry carried out an audit to ascertain the status of the Free Medicine Scheme as well as how much medicine expired”

Response: Minster for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate:

USAMATE: “The ministry had to carry out the assessment and with this assessment, they have come up with the recommendation. With the medication that is expired, I don’t have the data with me.”

Supplementary Questions:

Hon. Prem Singh:

SINGH: “How many of the 142 medicines are available, and which one are available?”

Response:

USAMATE: “I don’t have the list here with me.”

Hon. Anare Tuidraki Vadei:

VADEI: Will the pharmacies be compensated under this scheme?

Response:

USAMATE: “I don’t understand what we have to compensate, we provide them the medicine.”


Question: Hon. Aseri Radrodro to ask the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications:

“Can the Minister inform the House the condition of sale of Sky Pacific by Fiji TV to Digicel.”

Response: 

SAYED-KHAIYUM: “The sky pacific its not the government quantities, so we don’t know of their sales.”

Supplementary Questions:

Hon. Aseri Radrodro:

RADRODRO: “The CEO for Fiji Television reported in his press release that the condition of the sale was subject to the Attorney General’s approval so that was the basis of the question, what was the condition? And why is it that the current shows that was being accessed by the people in the rural areas are no longer assessable even this Parliament re-broadcasting they are no longer assessing to it as prior to the sale.”

Response: 

SAYED-KHAIYUM: They do not understand finance and commerce, on one hand he is talking about Sky Pacific, Digicel they forget that under the Media Industry Development Decree there was a complete restriction to foreigners to own media organisation in Fiji. We made an amendment to allow for this sale because Fijian Holdings came to us and we want to sell Sky Pacific to Digicel.

“We issued 3 licenses, issued to Digicel Fiji. They forget that on one hand they talking about the protection of Fijian Holdings, Does Fijian Holding own Sky Pacific now? No, Fijian Holdings owns FijiTV shouldn’t they want to protect Fiji TV? because it’s a free to air television, majority of the Fijian people in Fiji cannot subscribe to Sky Pacific. They can’t afford $50 a month, maybe they can, ordinary Fijians can’t because they want free to air television.

“Now, How does are free-to-air television run? How does it survive? It survives by having advertising it survives by generating revenue.”

“FijiTV is a listed company and it needs the revenue so that it is a protection of a free to air television station.”

Hon. Ratu Isoa Tikoca:

TIKOCA: Why did you change the Decree?

Response: 

SAYED-KHAIYUM: To allow foreign ownership, for purely entertainment.


Question: Hon. Ratu Sela Nanovo to ask the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications:

“Can the Minister advise this House as to why the Government is assisting Fiji Airways in giving them a grant of $18M for marketing of the Singapore service when the airline can meet those themselves from their $70M profits achieved in 2015.”

Response: Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum:

SAYED-KHAIYUM: “There is a significant ownership for Fiji airways that we can fly in every airways now. It allow us to provide market Fiji not only in the tourism section. The $70million dollar profit was for one year.”

“Hong Kong route: 19.3million loss, this was the loss for the government in three years, since we started the route to Hong Kong in 2010. Only last year we have gained a profit. There is alot competition.”

“Alot has been achieved because of the staffs. We looking at a good relationship and the world rugby is looking at Fiji Airways to be its main airway for 3 years in Singapore.”


Question: Hon. Ratu Isoa Tikoca to ask the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management:

“Can the Minister explain how Government is coordinating the Tropical Cyclone Winston rehabilitation work with NGO’s and Civil Societies.”

Response: Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu said:

SERUIRATU: “There are two system in place. there is two coordination. One the local NGO’s where the Fiji Council services oversee the work of the NGO’s. The United Nation and other foreign companies oversee the work of international NGO that are involved and during TC Winston there was 130 NGO’s that was involved altogether. We have clusters and there is 8 clusters altogether.”

“Any government system there is a finacial section system of it. I’ll provide an audit report once evereything is finalised.”

“The government is definetly doing everything and its best and all of thing needs it costs. In clusters we not only looking at the humanitarian aid. We have been given responses from the other agencies that they will keep on helping.


Presentation of papers and certain documents

The Attorney-General Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum presented the report pursuant to Standing order 38:

  • Reserve Bank of Fiji Annual Report 2015

The report has been referred to the Standing Committee for Economic Affairs.

The Hon. Timoci Natuva presented:

  • Ministry of Defence, National Security and Immigration Annual Report 2014

The report has been referred to the standing committee.

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