News and Editor's Comments Thursday 27.7.11
|PFC Factory at Levuka|
LEVY ON FISH EXPORTS HELP LOCAL JOBS. The imposition of the $350 levy per tonne trans-shipped from Fiji imposed by the 2011 Budget will result in more on-shore processing. Currently, some 30% of Fiji's total catch is trans-shipped at the expense of local jobs.
... BUT ELSEWHERE FISHERY WORKERS FACE HARDSHIP. An unknown number of Pacific Fishing Company (PAFCO) workers have been laid off for two months while renovations are made to align standards at the Levuka factory with those set by the US Food and Drugs Administration. No provision has been made to pay the workers for this forced time off work.
IT'S GOOD NEWS that other fish processors will help PAFCO to maintain supply,
... AND NICE that US housewives will not be inconvenienced— as the Fiji Broadcasting release below shows,
... BUT who is going to maintain the workers and their families?
Fiji Broadcasting reports: "Local fish processors have vowed to back PAFCO during its partial closure, ensuring that supply is kept as robust as possible.
Fiji Fish Managing Director Graham Southwick says while six other fish processors have their own markets and buyers, they have made a commitment to support PAFCO.
Southwick says he has been told it’s a temporary - partial closure – while other sections of the factory are operating at various levels.
"It is the cooked loins to the U.S that are the problem and other sections are able to operate to some extent. The cooked loins are their major business so its obviously a situation they’ve got to take care of as soon as possible. PAFCO chairperson Peniasi Kunatuba refuted reports that two containers of their products were recently rejected by US authorities saying they were only ‘put on hold.’
The Head of the Food Unit Samu Bolalailai says a team from the US Food and Drug Administration will be in Fiji soon to certify PAFCO’s operation.
FIRST AGRICULTURAL CENSUS IN 18 YEARS. The 2009 Agricultural Census, the first in 18 years, is being used by the Agricultural Department to "map the way forward." New policies and programmes are expected to boost production from next year.
METHODIST ELECTIONS. Three key posts in the Methodist Church will be up for election at next month’s annual conference, including the positions of president and general secretary, currently held respectively by Rev.Ame Tugaue and Rev.Tuikilakila Waqairatu.The Church has also confirmed that the annual levy would be collected from all circuits, but there would be no special fundraising this year.
MICRO ENTERPRISES FOR UNEMPLOYED. Plans are underway to develop small micro enterprises for up to 20,000 unemployed people registered by the National Employment Centre.
FIJI EMBASSY IN SOUTH AFRICA. The PM is in South Africa for the opening of the new High Commission which will also serve nearby African countries. The opening, scheduled for the July 29, is another step towards increasing Fiji's international presence beyond its traditional relationships, as mandated in Pillar 11 of the Peoples Charter, enhancing global integration and international relations. -- Based on 1512/MOI. Fiji has also established diplomatic relations with Malawi.