Permanent Secretary for Finance Filimoni Waqabaca challenged the people of Kadavu to enhance their contribution towards the economic growth of the nation after declaring that for the first time in history, Fiji has accumulated $1.6 billion in foreign reserves.
Mr. Waqabaca was part of the Reserve Bank of Fiji Micro Finance exposition in Kadavu on the last week of July at three main centers: Kavala, Vunisea and Daviqele.
He challenged the audience to plant more not only to enhance their living standards but also partner with government in growing the economy.
“You have so much to offer such as your land and marine resources which hold a lot of potential but you need to manage them well by taking into account your environment,“ said the Permanent Secretary.
“Government has built roads and wharves in the maritime zone. Kadavu’s geographical position edge over other maritime islands and its close proximity to Suva is an advantage since you have regular shipping and flights to the island”.
“What Government has done in terms of development is highly visible in Kadavu, thus, I don’t see any reason for the people to doubt Government’s commitment to the people with the upgrading of schools, roads, communications, health facilities and development programmes to name a few and this Expo is an indicator that the Government is committed to up skilling and empowering its people,” said Mr. Waqabaca.
Besides the awareness from respective booths, there were also finance literacy sessions which were chaired by Mr. Waqabaca and attended by reps from the participating organizations.
“You won’t run short of markets for your produce, therefore, make use of the services and information brought to your doorsteps today to plan your finances well,” the Permanent Secretary said.
ANZ Rural Banking manager Sitiveni Morovia conducted financial literacy programmes at three (3) stopovers whereby more than 200 people including women and youths received certificates.
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) was represented by the Strategic Framework for Change Coordinating Office which displayed the Government’s Roadmap 2009-2014 and the 37 outcomes of the Roadmap for Democracy & Sustainable Socio-Economic Development.
Turaga ni koro Kavala Sailasa Vatanitawake said the micro-finance expo was a timely one as the financial literacy program enlightened them to manage their finances better.
“Our source of income is yaqona and the sales are always in thousands of dollars. With the information on budgeting given to us today, we will now budget our money better,” Mr. Vatanitawake said.
The 19 exhibitors consisting of 60 staff that were part of the four (4) day exposition were: Home Finance Company Limited, Bank South Pacific, Bank of Baroda, Fijian Holdings Trust Management Limited, Housing Authority, Unit Trust of Fiji, Fiji National Provident Fund, Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority, ANZ, Life Insurance Corporation of India, OPM, iTaukei Lands Trust Board, Merchant Finance & Investment Company Limited, Ministry of Fisheries & Forests, Digicel, Integrated Human Relations Development and Planning, Department of Energy and RBF.