China Helps Towards Energy Sustainability, Into Potatoes, Housing, Squatters, Labour Reforms

N0280. CHINESE-CONSTRUCTED HYDRO DAM at Nadarivatu in the upper Sigatoka River valley that commenced construction in 2009 is 90% completed and should be finished this year. The dam will be able to store a billion litres of water which will travel through a 2km tunnel to the power station on the river. Power capacity is 41.7 megawatts, equal to an estimated saving of F$50million a year in fuel costs. The construction by the China based Sino-Hydro Corporation.  The dam cost will cost about F$283.2 million (US$155million).

N0281. 90% RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2015? The Fiji Electricity Authority hopes new renewable energy initiatives will help it to meet this target, that would cover a peak daily demand of 217 MW (1045 GWh per annum), by 2015.

The projects include the waste-to-energy power generators by iVITI Renewable Disenergy Power Plants, and Pacific Renewable Energy's wood-fired Lautoka plant.

FEA is also investigating wind-farm possibilities for Ovalau, and the use of bagasse from the Fiji Sugar's Rarawai Mill. There is also a proposal by a new Independent Power Producer for an 8.5 MW biomass-fired power plant for Labasa, to be phased in over five years.

N0282. SWITCHING FROM SUGAR TO POTATOES. A landowning unit (and farm co-operative) at Mataso in inland Ra province that has been farming sugar cane for 50 years is switching to potatoes and vegetable farming. They say they are cheaper to produce because of quicker maturity and they are cheaper to transport.From two hectares of land the co-operative earns between $12,000-$20,000 a year, and the money has already helped improve the lives of the villagers. They have been assisted by the Ministry of Agriculture in the new new venture and Government has provided a tractor.

N0283.N0284. WIDE CONSULTATION ON HOUSING POLICY.  Fiji has a major housing problem with up to one-fifth of its population living in squatter areas and many more unable to afford present housing prices.

Work towards a resolution of the problem and the formulation of a national housing policy commenced in June 2009. A steering committee of key stakeholders was appointed  and broad-based consultations were held to examine options on public and social housing. UN-Habitat assisted with advice based on its global experience and lessons learnt from international best practices.

The Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment launched the National Housing Policy earlier today. The policy is designed to provide a new strategic vision to achieve the goal of affordable housing for all.  -- Based on No.0733/MOI.

N0285. MORE ACTION ON URBAN SQUATTING
. A delegation from the Asia Coalition of Housing Action was in Fiji recently to discuss squatter upgrading projects with town and city special administrators as well as officials of the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development. According to the Director of Housing and Squatter Settlement, Kolinio Bola,  the parties agreed "that 15 squatter upgrading programmes will be undertaken over the the next three years with a total budget of $1.2 million.”

N0286. LABOUR REFORMS. Fiji is well in advance on its labour reform programmes and is being recognised as the role model on labour reform for Pacific Island countries. Labour permanent secretary Taito Waqa  said yesterday Fiji's Occupational Health and Safety reforms were recognised by the ILO which is using the Fiji's reform model in other Pacific Island countries.

Comments

Regional role model? said…
Croz
Such wonderful news that fiji is a 'role model' of labour reform for the region? Is it a role model for democracy as well? Or how to attract investment (real investment I mean?)
Damn it the facts said…
Croz,

You make it sound like the hydro project is being paid for by China. It is not.

The project was started well before Frank became PM and stalled because of his coup. It is a credit to the team at FEA and it's current CEO and former CFO that this is happening.

China provided a soft loan that needs to be repaid. In return for a reduced interest rate the majority of work has been awarded to Chinese contractors. This is not a bad thing because they are experienced operaters but lets be clear it is a loan and must be repaid with interest.

What many readers may not know is that locally ANZ bank also provided significant funding to get the project started (bridge finance) because FEA may have faced fines with the contractor and the China finance was not sealed - they where concerned about the stability post coup. Thankfully they are comfortable now.

Lets not credit Frank and his mteam for everything. Anyway a great project and good to see it going ahead.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Regional model ... Give credit where credit is due.

@ Damn ... Thanks for the correction. I've amended the posting accordingly.
Anonymous said…
The old coot is not only letting in heaps of anonymous things now... he is writing sentences like this:

The cost will cost about F$283.2 million (US$155million).
Croz Walsh said…
@ Anonymous ... Aonymous comments are now accepted for reasons previously explained. Thanks for picking up the typo.
Islands in the Str said…
The "significant group of the educated who remain silent....."

There is no excuse for a significant group of educated people in any nation in the world who remain silent in the face of oppression and corruption: especially if they are educated using public money. Taxpayers are entitled to expect that the 'educated' will fulfill their role: to speak out and up and to exert good judgement on a daily basis through making sensible choices. That is what democracy requires. That is the democratic imperative. It may require courage. It may require going beyond the comfort zone. Freedom and Liberty require no less than this. Have we conspired in our deprivation of freedom? Have we colluded in corruption and failed the democratic system? We cannot escape these questions: they are fundamental. Have we conflicted our best interest?
Islands in the Stream said…
The "significant group of the educated who remain silent....."

There is no excuse for a significant group of educated people in any nation in the world who remain silent in the face of oppression and corruption: especially if they are educated using public money. Taxpayers are entitled to expect that the 'educated' will fulfill their role: to speak out and up and to exert good judgement on a daily basis through making sensible choices. That is what democracy requires. That is the democratic imperative. It may require courage. It may require going beyond the comfort zone. Freedom and Liberty require no less than this. Have we conspired in our deprivation of freedom? Have we colluded in corruption and failed the democratic system? We cannot escape these questions: they are fundamental. Have we conflicted our best interest?
Anonymous said…
Credit to the new police commissioner but you have to ask two questions ?

Why was the previous commissioner rewarded with a plum overseas posting rather than been investigated.

Will the police ever investigate and charge anyone in the military -that will be a real test for them. Are they prepared to touch the otherwise untouchable ?
No Untouchables now! said…
The so-called 'untouchables' will not be untouchable indefinitely. The world no longer works like that. Some of us now see a light gleaming at the end of a twenty-five year tunnel: Col Muammar Gaddafi will be held to account for the deaths of all passengers on Pan Am flight 103. The innocent people of Locherbie who were killed by a 'deus ex machina' which fell on them in December 1988 - just a few days before Christmas will ultimately be avenged. The Untouchables will never be untouchable for ever. Their time will come because impunity must never endure. It must always be confronted. Crimes against humanity have no time limitation - not now they do not.
SOE said…
@ And the death of WPC Yvonne Fletcher? Killed from a window of the Libyan Embassy in London in 1986....

No more untouchables ever again! The death of WPC Yvonne Fletcher shot from a window of the Libyan embassy in London while on duty in uniform in 1986 was an act of murder. It will be investigated now while the fleeing Libyan Foreign Minister remains in the UK 'Without Immunity'. So long as memories survive, impunity will be addressed. That is why it is better to own up ahead of such investigations. The test of dysfunctional states is - unchallenged impunity.
who's who said…
@ Anonymous

Why was the previous Police Commissioner allowed to take the Force and citizens on a song and dance ride for so long ? Who is the Commissioner of Police answerable to ?

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