Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1110 ( Monday 21 August 2017 )


1) Appeal set up in PNG for fire victims

An appeal has been established for families who lost homes in a devastating fire at the weekend in Papua New Guinea’s capital.

More than 20 homes were destroyed by fire leaving more than 200 families homeless in the Port Moresby village of Hanuabada on Saturday.

The fire has prompted calls for better services to the seaside community and a better funded fire service.

Villagers on the ground could not confirm how the fire started but were surprised at how quickly it spread before the firefighters came to the rescue.

A relief appeal centre was set up by National Capital District Governor, Powes Parkop, who urged city residents to donate cash or kind, which would go towards helping the affected villagers.

The village is home to many famous sports personalities, including Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Steven Kari.21/08/2017 RNZI

2) Fiji Methodists elect new president

Fiji’s Methodist Church has elected a new president, Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa.

Reverend Vakadewavosa was elected by senior members of the church this afternoon at the church’s annual conference.

The President-elect who takes up his new position in January has served as a minister in Fiji and in Belize in Central America.

He takes over from Reverend Doctor Tevita Banivanua as the head of Fiji’s largest Christian denomination.

The World Methodist Council puts the Fiji Methodist population at 213,000, about a fifth of Fiji’s population.21/08/2017 RNZI

3) New Bougainville Minister to focus on Peace Agreement

18 August 2017

The newly appointed Papua New Guinea Minister of Bougainville Affairs says his focus is to ensure the Peace Agreement is properly implemented.

First time MP, Father Simon Dumarinu, was put in the new Peter O’Neill cabinet earlier this month.

The Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was signed in 2001, is due to reach its conclusion with a referendum on possible independence from PNG in June of 2019.

The autonomous Bougainville government had complained for several years about the PNG government dragging its feet over funding that it was obliged to by the Peace Agreement, and this was holding up development.

Father Dumarinu said it’s his aim to sort this out.

“As we are coming into it with the national government of Papua New Guinea and what we can do about speeding up the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement on the ground, building up how we can engage with Papua New Guinea to a good transition to the implementation of the referendum on the ground.”RNZI


4) Questions remain over PNG govt involvement in land deal

Transparency International Papua New Guinea says questions remain over a suspicious land deal involving at least two government ministers.

The deal involved the acquisition of land in Central Province for a naval base over which defence minister Fabian Pok and state enterprises minister William Duma were alleged to have conspired.

The state paid a company linked with Mr Duma $US14m to purchase the land at Manumanu.

When the deal came to public attention in March, prime minister Peter O’Neill stood down the ministers, and announced an inquiry.

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O’neil Photo: Supplied

Both MPs have now been re-appointed as ministers, but according to Transparency’s Lawrence Stephens, questions over their involvement in the deal have not been answered.

“We haven’t got any information coming back from any inquiry yet. If anything’s happened, it certainly hasn’t happened publicly, and we don’t even know whether the person who was named as being appointed to head the inquiry has actually been permitted to arrive in the country yet.”21/08/2017 – RNZI

5) Minister suggests Cooperative in CBD

By Len Garae

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Cooperatives, Joe Natuman has challenged the public to consider forming a cooperative society in the Central Business District (CBD) of Port Vila.

Members of such an initiative would shop there everyday, even to buy bread for breakfast instead of shopping in Chinese shops.

DPM Natuman said, “When you shop in your cooperative, you know you will get your share at the end of the year.

“I’ve just returned from Geneva (in Switzerland) three weeks ago and many shops and big supermarkets in the City are owned by cooperatives”.

The Minister said he convinced the Council of Ministers to endorse the “National Co-operative Policy 2017 – 2022” which was launched last week.

There were well over 300 cooperatives before Cyclone Pam. A large number of those cooperatives were destroyed during the category five cyclone.

Director of Cooperatives and Registrar of Cooperatives and Business Development Service, Ridley Joseph said cooperatives as a business are bouncing back at a growth rate of 6.7% per annum and a membership increase of 13.7%.

He encouraged communities to set up their cooperatives. The Department of Cooperative is more than happy to assist with answering questions.

The Department of Cooperatives has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue to work together.

Director Ridley Joseph said while only 55% of the 387 registered cooperatives have been audited, they contributed Vt71 million in VAT revenue into the Government cash box.

All members of all the cooperatives have paid Vt67 million in shares.

At the Policy Launching the Director said, “We are going to take a new look at this very old book because the movement arrived before me. And once we add a new look to it then certainly it will become new to achieve new results”.

He was excited that the Managers of Cooperatives from Tanna (in the South) up to the Banks (in the North) were present for the launching since they are the ones who are going to work with this new policy to effect change.

He said, “We are thankful that the Government Plan through the National Sustainable Development Plan recognises Cooperative as one of the economic pillars of development.

“Today is a milestone for the movement of cooperatives to take a new direction to move into a new future with 387 active cooperatives”.

He warned that while moving forward, they may also kick some stones that will unfold things and when those stones are unturned, he added, “It is our job to clean those stones to place them on the correct path to be able to walk straight and tall to achieve our goal and enjoy the benefits in line with the seven principles of Cooperatives”.

He would like to thank the Prime Minister’s Office through the Office of Planning and Aid Coordination, for securing the funds through Australia’s Government for Growth, and the Ministry of Trade and Tourism for managing the fund to pay the salaries of consultants Terrry MacDonald of Cooperative Canada and former Director of Cooperatives, Soway Joseph, for their consultations, and the entire consultation processes and printing the Cooperative Policy.

Other donor partners present for the launching ceremony also included JICA and World Vision.

TOK PISIN – Papua NiuGini /Solomon Islands –  PIJIN/BISLAMA-Vanuatu

6) Mendi haus sik long Southern Highlands i pas

Updated 21 August 2017, 14:22 AEST
Sam Seke

Mendi Hospital we i nabawan haus sik long Southern Highlands Province em i pas pinis long wanem em i shot long marasin.

Niusman Melvin Levongo i tok haus sik i nau kisim tasol ol kritikol emejensi keis, na olgeta arapela sevis i nogat.

Em i tok ol nes na dokta i tokim ol mama, ol pikinini ol lapun we i go long kisim triment olsem, haus sik i nogat marasin long tritim ol.

Levongo i tok ol yangpela na ol lain husat inap na igat moni, ol i save go long ol arapela regional hospital olsem long Mount Hagen long Western Highlands long kisim tritment.

7) Sampela lain ibin kukim Hanuabada Village long Port Moresby

Updated 21 August 2017, 14:07 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Samting olsem 200 ol femili long bikpla vilis long siti blong Port Moresby i lusim pinis ol haus blong ol bihaenim bikpla faea ibin bagarapim dispela Hanuabada Vilis blong ol long wikend.

Ol ripot ikam long PNG itok, 15pla haus ibin bagarap long despla ffaea na nau oli no save bai oli go we.

Metropolitan Police Superintendent, Ben Turi i tok ol otoriti igo hed iet long mekim ol wok painimaut long wonem samting tru ibin statim fire, tasol emi no ting olsem sampla criminal ibin statim fire.

Emi tok tu olsem Gavana, Powes Parkop i askim pinis olgeta pipal long city long bung wantem na givim halvim igo long ol pipal husat bungim heve nau long Hanuabada.

Hanuabada vilis istap antap long solwara na planti long ol haus tu long hap i olpela pinis.


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11) Samoan Minister defends Samoa Airways logo
11:06 pm GMT+12, 20/08/2017, Samoa
Samoan Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell has leapt to the defence of the Samoa Airways logo following criticism and numerous public complaints.

Citing costs and priority spending, Lautafi reassured the public that they will change their opinions once they see it on the tail of the plane.

The logo of Samoa’s new international airline was revealed two weeks ago and it is a picture of a coconut tree.

Responding to the Sunday Samoan questions, Lautafi said: “We don’t have money to spend on expensive aircraft paint. We are saving those funds for operation costs.”

However the logo on the airplane will be much more effective and eye catching than the logo itself, once it’s painted on our newly-leased plane.

“Regardless of what people are nagging and complaining about, they will have a different opinion once this logo is slapped onto the tail of the plane.”
“The coconut signifies the Pacific. Although our national flower is the teuila, but we have opted for the coconut, because this showcases all of the Pacific Islands.”

“We want to portray the Pacific and attract more tourists, because in their minds, they want to hang under swinging palm trees and that is our coconut trees.”

“No one knows what a Teuila is, so again, it’s all about prioritizing what is more important and that is to provide an adequate service to our people through our new airline.”

“We cannot do that if we spend US$100,000 on one paint, because that is how much it cost,” said the Minister.

Lautafi reiterated, “We would rather spend money in the service department than to try and please everyone who is complaining about the plain looking logo.”

He told the Sunday Samoan, the airplane is leased and once the lease expires, they have to repaint the whole plane back to its original colour and again, the costs are relatively high.

“So we don’t want to spend so much money on it,” he said.


12/13) French Polynesia votes to become full member of Forum19 August 2017 

French Polynesia’s assembly has voted in favour of the territory becoming a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The vote was 47 in favour, with ten members abstaining.

An extraordinary sitting of the assembly was called to advance the formal steps for the territory to join the Forum which needs to be co-ordinated with France as it represents French Polynesia internationally.

The pro-independence opposition, which declined to vote, expressed surprise that Paris authorises French Polynesia to join the Forum while never ceding to it powers in terms of foreign affairs and security.

An opposition politician Richared Tuheiava says his side cannot approve French interests to encroach on French Polynesia’s interests.

Mr Tuheiava also expressed his dismay at France continuing to ignore the UN-mandated decolonisation process.

After years of lobbying, the French Pacific territories were admitted as full members last year without the Forum explaining the change and nature of the accession criteria.

Full membership was first suggested by the French president Jacques Chirac in 2003 – seven years after France stopped testing its nuclear weapons in the Pacific.

The next Forum summit will be held in Samoa next month.RNZI

14) Cooks police accused of suppressing details of brutal assault 19 August 2017 

Police prosecutors in the Cook Islands are being accused of suppressing the details of a brutal assault on a 17 year old boy.

But his parents have complained that police prosecutors made no mention of this in their court summary and the alleged assailant walked free of a common assault charge.The victim alleges he was stabbed in the leg with a broken beer bottle after it was first smashed on his head.

They said police sources told them the details had been suppressed because of close familiy ties between the defendant and a senior ranking police officer.

In response to the parents’ complaints the Cook Islands’ police commissioner Maara Tetava, has confirmed a “prosecution review of the file under the broad context of the assault incident.”

The parents of the victim say this isn’t good enough. They say there is a clear conflict of interest and are calling for an independent investigation into the handling of the case.RNZI

15) Misunderstanding postpones Tuvalu Parliament session

01:22 am GMT+12, 18/08/2017, Tuvalu

The Tuvalu Cabinet has agreed to postpone the second session of the Parliament for this year because of misunderstandings that could not guarantee a smooth Parliament meeting.

The session was scheduled for 16 – 22 August 2017 but has now been postponed to a later date this year.

At a press conference Thursday 17 August Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga clarified that it is important that issues requiring proper clarifications are sorted before Parliament is reconvened.

PM Sopoaga explained that the Government is collaborating with the Parliament Office to have the same understanding on the application of recent High Court Judgements and most importantly the readiness of the Parliament to continue.

Therefore, the Parliament Session has been postponed to a later date in 2017, said a government statement.

The Prime Minister assured that Cabinet decisions are consultative and based on the requirements of the Constitution of Tuvalu and Rules of Procedure of the Tuvalu Parliament.

Meanwhile the Government continues to fully implement the priorities laid out in the Roadmap, Te Kakeega III and island community priorities.



16) PIANGO wants UN to protect Guam’s Chamorro people 

A regional NGO body says the United Nations Decolonisation Committee must expedite the decolonisation of Guam.

This comes amid the threats posed to Guam and its indigenous Chamorro people by the tensions between North Korea and the United States.

The executive director of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations, Emele Duituturaga, said North Korea may have withdrawn its decision to launch a missile attack on Guam for the time being, but the threat still exists.

She said colonisation remains an unfinished business and the UN Committee needs to act.

“We want to bring that issue back and say ‘Hey here’s an issue that’s been sitting on the decolonisation list of the UN since 1946. What is the Un doing about it? What is the US doing about it? Militarism shouldn’t be the only issue. We should be talking about the needs and the rights of the indigenous people of Guam and the Northern Marianas.”21/08/2017-RNZI

17) Call for better access to information in Kiribati 

Kiribati’s former president, Sir Ieremia Tabai, is urging the government to make access to information easy.

Sir Ieremia told parliament during question time that he had been refused access to copra production data for last year.

Mr Tabai says he asked for this report three times in May and December last year, but no one provided him with this information.

The commerce minister Atarake Nataara says such requests cannot be attended to urgently because of a number of procedures to ensure accuracy.

The minister told the House that no employee is allowed to disclose information about government or its companies without the approval of their secretaries and CEOs.RNZI 21/08/2017 RNZI

18) First major contract awarded for Guam Marines base

01:20 am GMT+12, 18/08/2017, Guam

The United States military has awarded the first major contract for the construction of a Marines base on Guam.

The military plans to relocate about 4,000 Marines to Guam from Okinawa, after striking a deal with the Japanese government over the unpopular presence on the island.

In a statement, the Navy said it had awarded an infrastructure contract worth US$164.89 million to the US firm Granite-Obayashi.

It would prepare a 400-acre site on Guam by building utilities, roads and other basic infrastructure for the future base, with construction proper due to start from 2020.

The Navy insists it would also include conservation measures for threatened and endangered species.

However, the relocation plan still had several hurdles to clear.

The military is being sued over its plans to use two islands in the nearby Northern Marianas as a bombing range, while Guam’s governor, Eddie Calvo, in April withdrew his support for the build-up over an immigration dispute with the US government.



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22) Maori Party includes overstayer amnesty in election policy 

New Zealand’s Maori Party is promising an amnesty for overstayers as one of its policies for Pacific people.

Māori Party co-leaders Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

The party announced a number of Pacific-focussed policies last week, including refugee status for those affected by climate change and a number of social and education initiatives.

The Maori Party’s co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said their recent partnership with the One Pacific party ahead of the September election prompted them to adopt a strong Pacific focus.

He said an overstayer amnesty would allow Pacific people who are living in New Zealand without work visas to join the workforce.

“So they don’t have to hide with the stigma of not having a visa to be here. Our understanding there’s quite a number of them here. And we’re trying to take that barrier away, take that stigma away and allow them to move into the workforce.”21/08/2017 – RNZI


23) Pacific civil society gets boost from EU18 August 2017 

The European Union is helping to boost the voice of community groups in the Pacific with a pilot training programme tailored to different regions.

The $US2.7 million Raising Pacific Voices project aims to help groups in ten countries drive development, enhance democracy and the rule of law.

Oxfam is among those working on the project and its regional director for the Pacific, Raijeli Nicole, said it would help a diverse range of groups lobby at a local, regional and international level.

“We’ve taken to heart that one size does not fit all,” said Ms Nicole.

“Between Melanesia where the populations are larger compared to Micronesia where again the population is smaller, the access to internet is a lot more difficult, travel between the different countries is also a challenge,” she said.RNZI

24) Regional trust fund on meteorology proposed
01:26 am GMT+12, 18/08/2017, Solomon Islands

By Pita Ligaiula in Honiara, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga has suggested a Pacific ‘self-sustaining trust fund’ to support the work of National Meteorology and Hydrology Services (NMHSs) in the region.

Maelanga made the statement today while opening the Second Pacific Ministerial Ministers Meeting (PMMM-2) on Meteorology, in Honiara.

“These are only suggestions that I think will assist our governments in their quest to ensure that sustainable weather, climate, ocean and water services are provided to build the resilience of the Pacific region.”

He said the ministerial meeting needed to discuss and agree on decisive actions that the NMHSs and disaster management offices have to undertake to ensure better, new, improved and innovative services are rendered to the people of the Pacific region.

“On the issue of ‘cost recovery,’ I urge all of you to think carefully and innovatively on how NMHSs can recover costs of the services it provides. What other services or products can be provided on a commercial basis?

“On ocean observation, we are all surrounded by the ocean but this region has made limited investments in ocean observation. We need to do this not only for weather and climate purposes, but also to improve our understanding of the overall health of our ocean and resources in it.

He said globally, majority of the natural disasters are hydro-meteorological in nature.

“In the Pacific region, a lot of natural disasters that we had experienced are also related to water and climate. Because of our isolation, limited capacity and the vast ocean we are situated in, we are indeed very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and climate variability including weather extremes.

“The incidences that I mentioned calls for the attention of our respective NMHSs as well as the disaster management offices to ensure new, vital and improved services are provided to our governments, our people and our communities. They need to understand the nature of these threats and make informed decisions to avoid or reduce their impacts.

“With our increasing population, proliferation of information technology coupled with the geographic spread of our islands, the demand for timely and accurate meteorological and hydrological information also increases. Nevertheless, I believe with the goodwill support we have received from our development partners and other collaborating organisations, new and improved services will be established.

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Director General Petteri Taalas Secretary-General said NMHSs can contribute to sustainable development and disaster risk reductions.

“Strengthening the capacities of the Pacific National Meteorological Services remains a major priority including modernising their infrastructure, equipping them with staff with highest technical skills, providing them with sufficient resources, raising their political visibility.

“The contribution of the international community to the sustainable development of the Pacific countries through the improvement of Met Services is being increasingly recognised, and it must be paired by the necessary support and investments at the national level,” Taalas said.

The WMO head also re-emphasised that the Pacific National Meteorological Services are critical actors in supporting the sustainable development of their countries.

“There is increasing awareness among policymakers and the general public of the socioeconomic benefits delivered by weather and climate services.

“Through this and future meetings, the Ministers responsible for meteorology in the Pacific, together with SPREP and WMO, have a major role in raising the visibility of the Pacific National Meteorological Services in the national and regional development agendas,” said Taalas.



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26) New surgery and anaesthetic policy to be drafted for PNG

A national surgery and anaesthetic policy for Papua New Guinea is set to be drafted at next month’s medical symposium in Port Moresby.

The Medical Board is hoping the submissions presented at the meeting will form the basis for the new policy.

The board’s chairman, Dr Osborne Liko, says the symposium will look at ways to reduce lengthy and dangerous delays before surgery.

Dr Liko says one of the barriers to implementing the policy is the lack of access to data.

27) WHO tells Fiji to improve medical supply chain

11:17 pm GMT+12, 20/08/2017, Fiji

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended a strengthening of the medical supply chain as part of measures to fight the outbreak of a superbug in Fiji’s main hospital.

Six babies, who died this year in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Colonial War Memorial Hospital, had been infected with Acinetobacter baumannii.

WHO’s official Corinne Capuano told the ABC that improving the supply chain would prevent single-use equipment from being reused.

“There is a long list of recommendations, but basically some of them are related to the supply system to ensure that the staff have enough equipment and material they can then use that is properly cleaned,” she said.

“So one is on the supply system, the other one more on the training of staff to make sure they understand the importance of infection prevention practices and good practices.”

The Fiji Ministry of Health has now assigned an officer to liaise between the hospital and the Pharmaceutical Service, which is responsible for the purchase and distribution of medical supplies




29) Low turn out at Solomon Islands led government caucus meeting

11:12 pm GMT+12, 20/08/2017, Solomon Islands

Only 17 Solomon Islands government ministers and backbenchers attended an urgent Caucus meeting called for on Sunday to ascertain the support of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) for the leadership of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, caucus insiders revealed.

The meeting was convened amidst reports that 29 Members of Parliament including government ministers and backbenchers have signed to a move to remove the East Choiseul MP Manasseh Sogavare as Prime Minister.

The 17 who attended the caucus meeting were as follows;

1. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare;

2. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Manasseh Maelanga;

3. Minister of Education and Human Resources Development John Dean Kuku;

4. Minister of Finance and Treasury Snyder Rini;

5. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Dudley Kopu;

6. Member of Parliament for Lau/Mbaelelea Augustine Auga (Backbencher);

7. Minister of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration William Marau;

8. Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Milner Tozaka;

9. Chairman of Government Caucus Jackson Fiulaua;

10. Minister of Rural Development Jimson Tanangada;

11. Minister of Women, Youth and Children Affairs Freda Tuki;

12. Minister of Development and Aid Coordination Danny Philip;

13. Minister of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace Samson Maneka;

14. Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Samuel Manetoali;

15. Minister of Health and Medical Services Dr Kaituu Tautai Angikimua;

16. Minister of Infrastructure Development Stanley Festus Sofu; and

17. Member of Parliament for East Central Guadalcanal Ishmael Avui (Backbencher).

The Solomon Star understands that six Ministers that didn’t attend – Minister of Culture and Tourism Bartholomew Parapolo, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Elijah Doromuala, Minister of Lands, Housing and Survey Andrew Manepora, Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification Bradley Tovosia and Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening David Tome, Minister of Police Moses Garu and the Deputy Chairman of Government Caucus Namson Tran were either overseas or in  their constituencies.

The turnout at the urgent Caucus meeting and the number of government MPs abroad suggested that two of the 29 MPs who signed up to the move to oust Prime Minister Sogavare attended the Caucus meeting, the source claimed.

The total number of Government MPs – both Ministers and backbenchers- prior to the major Cabinet shakeup was 38.

The two MPs may have attended the meeting because they were undecided as whether or not they should maintain their support for the leadership of Sogavare or solely for the purpose of reporting back to the others who have signed to the anti-Sogavare move, the source said.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office stated that DCCG continues to maintain its numerical strength and solidarity.

The statement said this was evident in the caucus meeting held which was attended by more than 25 MPs despite a number of ministers and backbenchers are in the provinces or overseas for various commitments.

The statement quoted a ‘confident and determined’ Prime Minister Sogavare confirming that, “DCCG solidarity is intact and we are fully committed to ensure policy delivery and move forward in the national interest.”

The Prime Minister’s Office in the statement also called on the media to be responsible and to avoid publishing material that is inaccurate and misleading to the public.


30) New Caledonia MP’s planned resignation will bring down govt 19 August 2017 

New Caledonia’s budget minister Philippe Dunoyer says he will resign by today to take up his seat in the French National Assembly.

This means the government led by Philippe Germain will fall because the collegial government needs to be renewed in its entirety if a single member quits.

Mr Dunoyer cannot hold both offices under new French rules restricting the accumulation of powers.

A meeting of the caretaker administration is expected on Thursday to determine the size of the next government, which currently has 11 members.

Congress is then due to meet before the end of the month to elect a new government.

Mr Germain, who is an anti-independence politician, is seeking re-election as president but observers say new rifts triggered within the loyalist camp by this year’s French elections may thwart his ambition.RNZI


31) Rural PNG ‘missing out’ on communications

August 21, 2017The NationalBusiness

COMMUNICATIONS and Information Minister Francis Manake is concerned about the number of people in rural areas who remain out of touch with the changing world of technology.
He told a conference on Thursday that he was amazed by developments in the world of technology.
“However, I am concerned that many of our rural population are still out of touch as they do not have access to a telephone, mobile communication and internet services,” Manake said.
He said some could not listen to a radio or watch television.
“The government has made a commitment specific to our industry in the second Alotau Accord,” he said.
Manake said it was to complete the National Broadband Network and Terrestrial Network upgrade (submarine cable bandwidth) which Huawei and the PNG DataCo Limited were constructing to run across 14 coastal centres.
“This will improve rural communication and enhance accessibility to internet services,” he said.
He said with well-established rural communication and enhanced accessibility to internet services, more development could take place.
“They could encourage e-commerce, e-health, e-education and e-agriculture with the view to embracing smart-government concept.”
Manake challenged the staff of National Information and Communication Technology Authority to try in the next five years to achieve the outcomes.
“Having access to technology is one thing. But if we can make it cheaper and affordable, it would be even better. I am committed to see that happens,” he said.


32) IRC addresses concerns over boom in businesses

August 21, 2017The NationalMain Stories

The Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) is doing its best to capture all business operators under its tax net so they can pay some form of tax, according to commissioner-general Betty Palaso.
She was responding to Madang MP Bryan Kramer, pictured, who raised concern about mushrooming foreign-owned businesses which he said seemed to be thriving in most areas of the country.
Speaking during the final day of induction at parliament last Friday, Kramer pointed out that many PNG-owned businesses struggled despite many years of operation, unlike newly established foreign-owned businesses.
He stressed that these foreign-owned businesses operated mainly with cash and asked if the businesses were paying taxes or their activities monitored.
Palaso concurred with Kramer’s concern that businesses were popping up everywhere in the country.
She said the Internal Revenue Commission required help from political leaders in respective electorates to report businesses that were non-tax compliant.
“Businesses popping up everywhere is a concern and we do our best to try to look at other ways to capture those operating tuckerboxes,” Palaso said.
“As members (MPs), if you know of anyone who is not tax compliant, let us know so we can get them to register.
“Penalties, we can also take them to court.
“If they try to leave the country they can be stopped at the airport and we make sure they fix their liabilities first before they are allowed to leave.
“So, there are ways we can deal with them under the income tax act.”

33) Cultural ceremonies blamed for high prices

Saturday, August 19, 2017

AN abundance of cultural ceremonies in Vanuatu is being blamed for the high price of cattle.

The minister of infrastructure and public utilities, Jotham Napat, said bullocks are sacrificed for funeral ceremonies, marriages, circumcisions and even when an uncle performs his cultural duty of shaving his nephew for the first time.

Mr Napat said the price of a bullock was now about $US1800 ($F3631), which he said was an astronomical amount for villagers who depend on their gardens for survival.

He said a new livestock policy was being drafted to address the issue on his island of Tanna, where he said the demand for meat is so high farmers are running out of livestock.


34) Great potential in kava industry, Opportunities for women in yaqona farming
11:14 pm GMT+12, 20/08/2017, Fiji

There has been a strong upward surge in kava consumption and price over the past few years and the future looks promising for the industry in Fiji.

International consultant and economist David Young said in terms of exports over the past 10 years Fiji’s kava exports averaged 2018 tonnes per year worth $6 million (US$3 million).

Young said statistics showed that last year kava exports totalled 256 tonnes worth $14.3m (US$7 million).

Statistics showed that over the past 10 years Fiji’s kava imports were an average of 186 tonnes per year worth $3.9m (US$1.9 million) while in 2016 imports totalled 94 tonnes worth $3.7m (US$1.8 million).

Young said the study revealed that there was a general lack of knowledge among yaqona farmers on the different varieties of the crop they were planting and what variety would give them higher yield.

He said in Fiji’s case kava was a high value smallholder crop and recommended that more development was needed for the industry to grow sustainably.

Meanwhile, the kava industry presents great opportunities for women if they decide to engage in the sector.

This was one of the views expressed at the kava value chain analysis validation workshop organised by Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Programme.

Statistics presented at the workshop revealed that only a handful of women were commercially involved in yaqona farming.

National team leader for the kava study, Waisiki Gonemaituba said data from the Ministry of Agriculture showed that only 2 per cent of yaqona farmers were female.

Gonemaituba said however, in the context of household yaqona farming, there were a lot of woman participation in the yaqona value chain activities such as weeding, planting, washing, sorting, grading, packing, bookkeeping and marketing, but not highlighted.

He said the 2009 Agriculture Census showed that there were 5 per cent of women farmers in the agriculture sector, raising the need to empower women through training and access to finance.

The study also highlighted that a lot of young people were interested in yaqona farming because of the lucrative prices it could fetch in two to three years time.

According to the 2009 Agriculture Census average age of farmers increased to 56 years and was difficult to attract young entrants.

Gonemaituba said this crop might change things around for strong youth participation.

“Farmers enjoy the impacts of high prices, with new houses, twin cab vehicles, purchase of house in towns, new farms. Some farmers stagger harvesting and keep yaqona plants on the ground to act as their bank.”

Other issues that were highlighted included the use of mataqali land by most yaqona farmers in villages and the challenges it presented when they required to apply for bank loans.

Gonemaituba who is the national team leader for the analysis of kava value chain, said kava farming was mostly done by smallholder farms.

However, he said, if modern techniques and methods of production were employed to efficiently produce kava, it would solve a lot of other challenges such as faster moving inland for new areas.

Gonemaituba said their field study had also revealed that majority of yaqona farmers were i-taukei and farmed their mataqali land.

He said it was a challenge for them when seeking assistance from banks, government departments and international development projects where criteria was a lease title.

Access to farms was also an issue raised by yaqona farmers whereby farms were too far out from farmers’ village or dwelling house.

Gonemaituba said distance from homes led to farmers moving inland to cultivate virgin lands with fertile soil.

He said their survey had also revealed that training for yaqona farmers on good agricultural practices, pre-harvest and post-harvest training that includes proper drying methods, financial literacy was required if the yaqona industry was to be developed.


35) Great potential in kava industry

Monika Singh
Monday, August 21, 2017

THERE has been a strong upward surge in kava consumption and price over the past few years and the future looks promising for the industry in Fiji.

International consultant and economist David Young said in terms of exports over the past 10 years Fiji’s kava exports averaged 2018 tonnes per year worth $6 million.

Mr Young said statistics showed that last year kava exports totalled 256 tonnes worth $14.3m.

Statistics showed that over the past 10 years Fiji’s kava imports were an average of 186 tonnes per year worth $3.9m while in 2016 imports totalled 94 tonnes worth $3.7m.

Mr Young said the study revealed that there was a general lack of knowledge among yaqona farmers on the different varieties of the crop they were planting and what variety would give them higher yield.

He said in Fiji’s case kava was a high value smallholder crop and recommended that more development was needed for the industry to grow sustainably.

36) Financial literacy

Monika Singh
Monday, August 21, 2017

MORE and more people are engaging into yaqona farming after the increase in price of the commodity, but concerns have been raised at the way farmers use income from the sale of their crops.

Commissioner Eastern Luke Moroivalu said there was money in the islands, but people did not know what to do with their money.

He said he was aware of the fact that some farmers kept about $30,000 earned from kava sales in their homes because they did not have bank accounts.

“There needs to be a culture of savings and knowledge of investment in yaqona farmers so that they do not waste their hard earned income.”

The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program had held a workshop on Kava Value Chain Analysis validation at Studio 6 in Suva last week where it was revealed yaqona farmers on the islands spent their money on alcohol.

Mr Moroivalu said the islands were fertile and farmers were keen to plant yaqona which would earn them good money.

However, he said, financial literacy was also an important component of the process if farmers planned to save their money.

He said there were farmers who were smart enough to put their money to good use through investments and banking into savings accounts.

“The sudden increase in the price of kava has generated a lot of income for yaqona farmers and a lot of people have been able to buy vehicles, extend their family homes and send their children to school from that money,” he said.

Mr Moroivalu said the kava industry in Fiji was a huge sector, however, there was a need to develop the people so that they are able to benefit fully from the industry.

He said there was a need for capacity building for yaqona farmers so that they are aware of how to grow their money and where to invest it.

“We had started this rural millionaire program in 2015 for island such as Koro, Kadavu and others and this project has led to improvement in the lives of so many people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Agriculture deputy secretary for corporate services and planning, Maca Tulakepa said PHAMA had enabled meeting of standards and requirements of importing countries for other primary products such as dalo, assorted vegetables and ginger to name a few.

37) Sandalwood high value wood, says Lal

Luke Rawalai
Monday, August 21, 2017-Fijitimes

SANDALWOOD continues to fetch the biggest revenue in the market compared with other wood in Fiji’s forests.

Responding to questions from this newspaper, Forest conservator Sanjana Lal said sandalwood was a high value wood, adding prices ranged from $100 to $200 per kilogram of heartwood.

Ms Lal said this may depend on the size and quality of heartwood.

“It takes 15 to 20 years for a sandalwood tree to mature,” she said.

For more on this story, please pick up a copy of today’s edition of The Fiji Times newspaper or subscribe to our E-Edition.


38) PNG go into AFL cup final confident19 August 2017 

Papua New Guinea believe they’re peaking at just the right time going into today’s AFL International Cup final.

The defending champions lost their opening match against Ireland but have since racked up big wins against Nauru, the USA and South Africa.

The Mosquitoes sneaked into the grand final after New Zealand edged the Irish by four points in the final round, slotting the winning goal in the dying seconds of the match.

Head coach David Lake said they have come a long way in the past fortnight.

“Our first real training run was in the warm-up against the Irish – we hadn’t actually caught up for three years so we were off to a bit of a standing start, we were up at three quarter time and we probably just didn’t quite know how to finish.”

“Then as the weeks have gone we’ve got better at what we’ve done and we improve every day and actually got to have a few training sessions, so I feel like we’re going to come to the MCG ready because we’re climbing the mountain and we’re getting closer to the top just with form and understanding and from hanging out together and just spending a bit of time. Yeah we’re dangerous,” he said.

Papua New Guinea are the only country to play in every International Cup final, dating back to 2002.

New Zealand have been widely tipped as the team to beat but David Lake said his squad won’t be over awed by the occasion.

“We’re as ready as we’ll ever be. Probably the difference in culture – it’s not normal to be an arrogant, up front chest-puffing PNG boy. Life is difficult every day – you get up and you take on the elements so there’s probably not a lot that life can dish at you that can be sometimes worse than what you get put through, so I think they’re optimists in the way they approach live and they take each challenge as it comes and we’re happy with where we’re at.”

“They’re a lot bigger and stronger than us – probably move a little bit slower – and we’re small and slick and we move the ball quick. We’re quite natural and they’re at times robotic,” he said.

“It will be two contrasting ways to play footy but certainly we’ll have our work cut out with their size and strength and they’ll have their work cut out trying to catch us.”

The men’s final will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, prior to the Collingwood-Geelong AFL match, with the women’s final between Canada and Ireland serving as the curtain-raiser to the Carlton-Hawthorn game at Etihad Stadium.RNZI

39) Norris records life changing Fijian win

11:24 pm GMT+12, 20/08/2017, Fiji

South Australian Jason Norris’ life changed with a drop of a putt as he won the Fiji International at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.

Tri-sanctioned by the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, European Tour and Asian Tour the 44-year-old journeyman now has the golfing world at his finger tips.

It’s an incredible change for the man who, up until last week, was working at the Grange Golf Club in Adelaide and on the edge of giving the game away.

“Today I felt good, I felt like a champion,” said Norris, who now has his pick of tournaments in Europe and Asia.

“I said a couple of years ago when I was about to quit, that I didn’t want to give it away until I had won a big tournament because I know I can.”

“I told the boss last week that I have probably two years left playing golf and I just want to have a crack. This came up quicker than I thought.”

Norris looked good all week and with scores of 69, 68, 70, 67 he won the title by four shots with a score of 14-under the card.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s good to see you all on Sunday instead of on Thursday every time,” said Norris, who opened the final round with a birdie and never looked back.

“I think it was just our week, everything aligned and putts dropped and some good shots came, it was amazing.”

Freely admitting to suffering from the yips, at times this week Norris used three different grips per round but today everything clicked.

“Today I used backhand grip all day. I putted well with the grip on the back-9 yesterday so I stuck with it,” added Norris.

“I putted sensational all day; even the ones that I three putted were just bad speed.”

Four shots back was the fast finishing Jazz Janewattananond. Having made the cut on the number the Thai star set the course record at 8-under 64 in the final round thanks to a long eagle putt on the par-5 17th.

“I am just really happy to put up a good score. It’s always good to shoot a bogey-free round. I couldn’t make any putts in the first two days but I had been hitting the ball good all week. I managed to sink some putts today and yesterday and I guess that was the key,” said Janewattananond.

Joining him in a tie for runner-up are Australians David McKenzie and James Marchesani.

Rounding out the top-5 at the Fiji International are Australians Adam Bland, Peter Wilson, Wade Ormsby and New Zealander Daniel Pearce.

Thanks to his win Sunday, Jason Norris won AU$237,500, jumping 76 places up the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit to second, AU$44,000 behind ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth champion Brett Rumford.


40a ) All Blacks crush Wallabies

Monday, August 21, 2017

SYDNEY – Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty both crossed twice as New Zealand ran in eight tries in a brilliant display of running rugby to demolish Australia 54-34 in the Rugby Championship opener on Saturday night.

The world champions extinguished any chance of an upset with three tries in seven first-half minutes and sliced through the home defence almost at will in the opening 50 to start their title defence with a bonus-point win. Liam Squire, Sonny Bill Williams, Damian McKenzie and Ben Smith also scored tries as the All Blacks brushed off the disappointment of the drawn British and Irish Lions series and a string of off-field distractions.

The Wallabies scored tries through debutant winger Curtis Rona, replacement back Tevita Kuridrani, centre Kurtley Beale and fullback Israel Folau but they came in the second half once the game was already beyond them.

“It was pretty surreal that first half to be honest. We came here to play our game and it really came off. It was a pretty awesome first half,” New Zealand captain Kieran Read said.

“It came about by the doing the simple things. We carried really hard and exploited a few gaps out wide.”

The Wallabies face the All Blacks in Dunedin again next week and on this evidence their prospects of winning the remaining two Bledisloe Cup tests to reclaim the trophy for the first time since 2002 must be rated as extremely remote.

40b )



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