AG, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum – Launch of “Stand Up and Take Action Make a Noise 2010 Campaign

Bula Vinaka and a good evening ladies and gentlemen.

The cabinet ministers, the President of PINA, Vice President of PINA, your excellencies, members of the diplomatic corp, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen.

The video presentation that you just showed us, our’s was better than that.

As you know there is a review of the MDG and cabinet last week approved the presentation that will be carried out by our representatives in New York for the review that is going to take place.  That was again put together I understand with the assistance of Fiji TV and the UN in terms of the specific national assessment of what has happened in Fiji and what is going to happen in Fiji.

As you know ladies and gentlemen, in many respects, we are playing catch-up regarding the various goals that need to be attained under the specific goals of the MDGs and what I would like to highlight to you tonight is are some of the key policies of the Bainimarama Government in respect of meeting these goals.

As you know, the Government has put in place a number of policy initiatives that specifically target the poor, that specifically target for example the reproductive health of women, and that specifically target for example education for children.  Some of the examples that have taken place and which has probably gained a lot of publicity also and indeed some of these policies may not necessarily go directly to that specific MDG but have an indirect impact on achieving those goals.

One such example of course is the targeted assistance of children to be able to get subsidized transportation to go to schools.  Second is for example the availability of text books for school children, which is being provided for free.  On the other hand, as far as the well-being of individuals are concerned the introduction of the never introduced prior to this, of the food voucher scheme for those who are receiving family assistance allowance scheme.  But of course the focus now by government and you will see indeed in the next few weeks the focus on microfinance being available to those in particular in the rural areas and those at the lower end of the socio-economic scale.

What we would like to also stipulate, is that if you look at the Strategic Framework for Change that was launched by the Prime Minister on 1 July last year and we have Mr. Kau from the office of the Strategic Framework for Change that is put together in a more detailed form in our economic development plan.  It has its specific focus on improving the socio-economic condition of the people of Fiji, in particular from now until 2012 where the idea is we bring about an enabling environment not just in terms of specific targets but also in terms of providing the legislative framework, the fiscal framework to be able to achieve those goals.  Some of them may not necessarily be realized tomorrow, may not be realized next month but indeed they will be realised over the next couple of years.

I would like to at this point also highlight the collaboration between PINA and for example UN and I think it is demonstrative of the fact that in order to achieve the goals which are obviously as you know goals that need to be achieved in order to be able to eradicate the huge disparity between people within our own society and of course globally too that we need collaboration.  It is not something that Government can do alone.  We need collaboration between government, with the private sector, with NGO’s, the Civil Society and also of course with the media.

But I think this collaboration between PINA and the UN demonstrates that very fact.  As we have continuously said the media needs to be pro-Fiji in this particular instance.  There are many developmental issues, we have our own legacy issues, we have our own colonial history, we have our own systemic issues that contribute to some of the legging that has taken place, it is our inability to meet up with some of these demands.

So essentially what I am saying is that in order to achieve these goals we need to tale a holistic approach, so we need to be cognisant for example of corruption because if you do not address corruption then our ability to get our maximum return for the dollar that we spend for example on Poverty Alleviation or putting in pipes to get drinking water, portable water to those people who need access to that, will not be achieved or there will be a delay in achieving those.

So efficiency, good financial management, good governance, a transparent form of government is what is also essential to ensure that we are able to achieve our MDGs.

I just want to briefly highlight and elaborate on what was shown on the news on Fiji TV tonight.  There are a lot of consultations that is taking place.  It was shown on Fiji TV tonight that for example various advisory council meetings are being held throughout the country.  Now, part of those consultations will include people from Provincial Development, will include the implementation and that focus of the SFC and also for example it will look at how we can strengthen many of the areas in which we are legging behind.  I mean there are many initiatives for example the Ministry of Agriculture there is an emphasis on food production on being able to supply our own food supply.  It is not simply just a question of ensuring that we have a favorable balance of trade or increase in foreign reserves, but it is also very empowering in terms of being able to supply our won food, being able to sell our own products.

And so there Is a number of initiatives which I do not want to elaborate any further but all I would like to say tonight is that the Bainimarama Government is very much committed to the MDGs and to achieving those through various ministries and ministers and of course I would like to congratulate PINA for this wonderful initiative and I would also like to welcome the President of PINA who I have not had the pleasure of meeting and I would like to show my gratitude to him for being here tonight for this specific launch.  I very much appreciate that.

So ladies and gentlemen thank you very much for attending tonight and definitely the government looks forward to working with all of you.

Vinaka Vakalevu and thank you.



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