Public Service Reforms, Monitoring Charter Progress, FLP Fiddles

(G) MAJOR CHANGES TO PUBLIC SERVICE. The PM  admits government plans to progressively outsource many activities presently undertaken by the public sector could see job losses, but he hopes  that many workers made redundant will be absorbed by companies taking up government works.

An Outsourcing Policy is being developed for the whole of the civil service as part of Government's institutional reform agenda. This will help to reduce operating expenditure; make available more resources for essential capital expenditure, and encourage private investment for growth in jobs and income.

The PM  has asked the Public Service Commission to conduct wide ranging consultations across the civil service in the development of the Outsourcing Policy, and identify priority areas for outsourcing and implications on staffing. My understanding is that the Public Service Association is not being consulted about these changes; previous PSC efforts to engage the Association having failed.

(G) CHARTER IMPLEMENTATION ON TRACK. A first quarter audit of 21 Ministries and two Departments by the Strategic Framework for Change Coordinating Office shows that the implementation of the eleven pillars of the People's Charter for Change, Peace and Progress (PCCP) has been well received by Ministries and Department. Ministries behind in their work will be closely monitored in the second and third quarter. The report recommended that Government ministries place more emphasis on implementing policies related to the Pillars of the Charter.

(G) MONITORING PROGRESS ON PEOPLE'S CHARTER. At the fourth meeting of the National People’s Charter Advisory Council, Chairman Josefa Serulagilagi said Permanent Secrataries have been asked to report on progress on the Eleven Pillar, noting areas of concern in order to identify aspects of the Charter Pillars which could have fallen through the cracks or have been neglected.

Serulagilagi raised concern about NPCAC resources. He thought they were stretched "too wide and thin."  The Council needed to more carefully define and refocus deliberations and work activities and confine itself, at this stage of its work, to monitoring the work of government.”

The NPCAC is divided into three sub-groups dealing with: Growing the Economy, Social and Cultural Issues, and Good Governance. Their priority area until 2012 is working with growing the economy and social and cultural issues, after which focus will be on good governance until elections in 2014.

NZ JOURNALISTS HAVE PARLIAMENT PASSES CANCELLLED. Journalists sometimes overstep the mark  as events at the Beehive showed last week. One presumes that in pursuing the MP they were pursuing the "public's right to know," an argument also used by Fiji's media. But here, and there, there are limits that should not be crossed by responsible journalists.
    
FIJI LABOUR PARTY FIDDLES WHILE FIJI BURNS
was a thought that came to mind when I read the following on the FLP website.  A little unkind perhaps but the FLP's insistence on what is not going to happen ("inclusive" dialogue, an "acceptable" roadmap, and elections before 2014) seems unrealistic and unhelpful in the present circumstances.  And phrases like "all right thinking people ... the plain truth ...it is foolish talk" infer that those holding contrary opinions are wrong-thinking, untruthful and foolish -- which is hardly a good starting point for the inclusive dialogue they say they want.

Is it about Fingers or Fiddles?

[posted 17 June 2010, 1400]

This is in response to Croz Walsh’s blog posting of June 9.

All right thinking people know who has lost four fingers and put Fiji in deep waters in the last three years.

It makes little sense to solely blame the global economic recession, the withholding of aid funds, travel bans and natural disasters for our economic ills.

The root cause of our fast declining economy is the refusal of the regime to enter into inclusive political dialogue to chalk out an acceptable roadmap back to elections and constitutional rule within an agreed timeframe - well before 2014 announced by Commodore Bainimarama.

The plain truth is that the economy will continue to slide under the present administration because of its unsustainable economic policies.

Meanwhile, galloping inflation, as a consequence of devaluation last year and further weakening of the Fiji dollar since, has added hundreds more to the poverty queue.

It is foolish talk for the RBF to call for investment levels to rise to 25% from the current 13% of GDP. Where is the confidence to invest in an environment where intimidation, raids, threats and harassment have become the order of the day.

The looming inability of the state to repay its loans on time, as alluded in a recent IMF Report, poses fresh threats of further devaluation.

There is no denying the fact that the economy was in trouble even long before the takeover of December 2006.

But then it should have been put back on the growth track in the last 3 years. But not so – it has been contracting ever since 2007 and is likely to show further contraction this year. In fact, the situation worsened in 2009 compared to 2007/2008.

Whatever has happened to the ‘strategic framework for change’ proclamation of April last year that the next three years would be devoted to growing the economy and fixing the infrastructure. All key economic indicators point in a different direction from that of growth.

And now there is talk of a mini budget to rake in more revenue through increased taxation. This will undoubtedly cause further hardship in a scenario where almost half the nation is struggling in the throes of poverty.

Comments

The tide IS turning said…
Mr Chaudhry and the FLP are to be congratulated for their public stance against this illegal junta and its brutality and intimidation. They join the increasing international condemnation against such behaviour. There is no place for dictatorships and certainly not in the Pacific.
What crisis? said…
Croz, we seem to live in a parallel universe when it comes to the international response to Fiji. Sanctions from Australia and NZ, high praise from British military commanders after two more Fijian soldiers were killed this week on their behalf in Afghanistan. Indeed, if you live in Britain, you'd be largely unaware of any problem at all in the relationship with Fiji. Despite Fiji's suspension from the Commonwealth, our flag flew with all the others at the entrance to Horse Guards last weekend for the Trooping the Colour ceremony to mark the Queen's birthday. And there were several Fijians in the ranks of those on parade wearing the scarlet tunics of the Grenadier Guards, the regiment doing the salute this year. At least we know who our real friends are.
Red Dragon said…
Our real friends speak of us in a manner which indicates they fully comprehend the best Fiji can offer. They speak of one of the fallen soldiers as:

"An exceptional soldier whose first thought was always for those around him - never himself. He epitomised the qualities of a Fijian Kingsman - strong yet gentle, compassionate, principled and honourable, and with a real sense of right and wrong".

Yet this is a man trained for war. War is where we derive our rights, where they are sourced. The battles of history have been the cradle of our rights. This is a fact of history. In past years, we have heard Fijian soldiers demeaned and inculpated not only overseas but also within Fiji. There are bad eggs anywhere. There are also heroes:

"Tough and stoic but with an infectious smile and a mischievous sense of humour. His performance in Afghanistan was outstanding. He led from the front, set the best of examples for others to follow and he put everyone before himself".

Yes, that is what our friends think of oustanding performance and professionalism. To hear our detractors one would never believe this possible. May these two valiant young men rest in God's Peace forever.
Brij over troubled waters said…
Taking of public service reforms. I got a real shock this morning to read that Dr Brij Lal is the new permanent secretary for education. Surely not. Could it really be that the Girmit prince of the ANU had done an about face and joined his enemies in the regime? I wondered why no-one was making a fuss about it until I learned that there's another Dr Brij Lal in Fiji. This one has been in charge of all the country's primary schools and gained a doctorate from the University of Ireland. Fwhew! But talk about confusing!

Another of the public service appointments is interesting - that of Elizabeth Powell as the new permanent head of public enterprises, tourism and communications. She comes from one of Fiji's oldest and most respected kailoma families and is seriously smart. Many will remember her as once the face of Air Pacific when she was chief stewardess in the 1970s. But she went on to pursue an academic and business career in the US and has high level degrees in tourism from the University of Hawaii plus an MBA and a lot of corporate experience.Ms Powell came back to Fiji 18 months ago after living in Las Vegas, of all places, for several years.

Another good appointment and a further sign that Frank is determined to get the best people he can on the public payroll, irrespective of race. There's no way people like Ms Powell or Peter Thomson at the UN would have been chosen by the miserable SDL, nor would they have wanted the jobs anyway. Vinaka.

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