From Fiji Daily Post Online (30 January 2009)
Cabinet OKs changes to Income
ANOTHER amendment to the Income Tax Act, Cap 201 has been approved by the interim Cabinet.
The amendments will effect changes relating to the tax implication of the Fijian Trust Fund (FTF) Board, as well as bring about minor changes to the Vanua Levu incentives and the agriculture incentives that were part of the 2009 Budget announcement.
The approval was given following a submission by the interim Prime Minister and Acting Minister for Finance, Frank Bainimarama.
In the 2009 Budget, Bainimarama had announced that the following areas—Vanua Levu, Rotuma, Kadavu, Levuka, Lomaiviti and Lau—would be declared Tax Free Regions (TFR).
He said tax and duty concessions available in the areas identified under the TFR would be targeted and more meaningful to new investors as infrastructure and other logistic requirement needed to make Vanua Levu an attractive destination are still not competitive.
“In this regard, a three tier tax incentives level in proportionate to the level of investment will be given,” Bainimarama said.
Any new business activity in the Tax Free Region engaged in a new trade, business or manufacture in the Fiji Islands will be exempt from tax as follows: any new activity approved and established between 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009 to be exempt from tax for: capital investment between $500,000 to $1,000,000, a period of 5 consecutive fiscal years; or capital investment from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000, a period of 7 consecutive fiscal years; or capital investment above $2,000,000, a period of 13 consecutive fiscal years.
“Any new activity approved and established from 1 January 2010 to be exempt from tax for 13 years with an initial capital investment of $2000000,” Bainimarama said.
For any new activity engaged in commercial agricultural farming and agro-processing as approved by the Commissioner from 1 January, 2009 to 31 December 2014 will also be exempt from tax as follows: any new activity approved and established between 1 January to 31 December 2009 to be exempt as follows: capital investment between $250,000 to $1,000,000, a period of 4 consecutive fiscal years; or capital investment from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000, a period of 7 consecutive fiscal years; or capital investment above $2,000,000, a period of 10 consecutive fiscal years.
“Any new activity approved and established from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2014 is to be exempt from tax for a period of 10 consecutive fiscal years with an initial capital investment of $2,000,000.
Bainimarama explained that the Income Tax Act (Amendment) (No.1) Promulgation 2009 also gives effect to the 2009 Budget announcement relating to the reinstatement of tax exemption on dividend distributed by all trusts.
The FTF was established by the Fiji Government to foster advancement of the indigenous Fijians and Rotumans to assist in their long term economic, social and cultural and political development.
FTF is charitable in nature pursuant to Section 4 of the Fijian Trust Act, 2004.
From Fiji (30 January 2009)
Pacific Youth Festival 2009
Jacob Itautoka is the President of the Pacific Youth Festival Alumni and a member of the National Organizing committee for the Second Pacific Youth Festival, which Fiji will be hosting. He is the son of Keti Tipou Itautoka and Aisake Viki Itautoka.
Jacob, age 24, has been working for LajeRotuma Initiative for the past few years and has gained a lot of experience, knowledge and skills that has taken him places.
In July 2006, the Ministry of Youth Affairs, French Polynesia
and Union Polynésienne pour la Jeunesse (UPJ) in partnership with the
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) hosted the First Pacific Youth
Festival at the Cultural Centre on the Pape'ete waterfront, Tahiti. This
was in accordance with the resolution adopted at the Second Conference
of the Youth Ministers of the Pacific Community in Port Moresby, Papua
New Guinea, December 5-9 2005.
The Festival had nine thematic areas: Education and Training for All, Social and Professional Integration and Health, Sustainable Development, Cultural Development, Equality for All, Peace Promotion, Active Citizenship and Good Governance. These themes were discussed and knowledge shared through conferences, seminars and workshops.
This was an exciting and educational event for the Fiji delegation, which comprised 22 youth members and 5 ministry staff. A number of Fiji's delegates also took part in delivering presentations and in various cultural performances.
As a result of the festival a Pacific Youth Charter, with 9 themes and 58 resolutions was put together detailing the aspirations and opinions of close to 1000 young people across the Pacific. In addition, Mr. Pita Nacuva received a paddle on behalf of the Fiji delegation, as a symbol for hosting the Second Pacific Youth Festival in 2009.
In Jacob's own words, "As a young Rotuman lad, it’s an honor to be part of a committee at a national level to spearhead the preparation for the Second Pacific Youth Festival."
From John Taito in Fiji (25 January 2009)
Wedding at the Pearl
On 27 December 2008 family members, relatives and friends gathered at the Pearl Pacific Harbour Hotel beach front lawn to witness and celebrate the wedding of Mr. Vega Naga of Kadavu to Ms. Farema Rina Taito, daughter of the late Aisake and Tivao Taito (Lopta-Malhaha/Haga-Hapmafau origin).
The weather was ideal for this outdoor blessing ceremony with the bride escorted to the wedding site by her brother, Paul Taito, who gave her hand away to the Groom.
The reception was held in the evening with lots of food, drinks and dancing by everyone to the lively English, Fijian, Rotuman and island hits by the ‘Sisters Band’ who have roots in our little rich seafood village of Tua'koi.
The reception commenced with an entertaining and lively 'of sope ceremony by the bride’s sigoas—Aunty Saverine and Uncle Faga Panapasa’s children and grandchildren.
Everyone was captivated by the humorous and heart-touching speeches by Paul Taito (bride’s brother), Mr. Seeto (groom's uncle), Mr. Fong (best man) and Ms. Heilala Nata (maid of honour).
Special thanks to Aunty Ana, Kerese and family who made the special trip from Jamaica; the children, grand-children and great-grand children of Mapiga Akeneta Nanson; Mapiga Tomoniko and late Mapiga Anamarie Pagkale; the Panapasa family, especially Uncle Faga and Aunty Saverine who came all the way from the island; family friends and not forgetting the Groom's family.
The newlyweds will be settling down in Germany where the Groom is a member of the British Army based there.
Fo’eksia ma Fau leilei’t se te ne is tutu atakoa.
From Radio Fiji (23 January 2009)
Teachers, students finally head home
Teachers students and other government officials from Rotuma who came over to spend the festive season on Viti Levu have finally managed to get a boat back home.
Rotuma Island Council Chairman Tertarani Rigamoto says they’ve been allowed the Iloilovatu to take them back to the island
Rigamoto says the Iloilovatu will leave for Rotuma Tuesday next week and arrive in Rotuma on Thursay.
He says teachers and students will only miss four days at school and will be able to catch up the week after.
He is urging all government officials and students to start paying their fare at the Marine office before they leave on Tuesday.
From Fiji Times Online (20 January 2009)
WHILE the Ministry of Works has used $4million from this year's budget on flood damage, interim Works Minister Timoci Natuva said they needed an extra $20m.
"To repair the damaged roads, we need at least $20m," he said.
"I am waiting for engineers to round up their assessment before I can propose for Cabinet to approve an extra $20m."
Mr Natuva said he hoped his ministry would go ahead with the various capital projects it had planned this year such as the road upgrading in Rotuma...
From Sakimi Samuels in Australia (13 January 2009)
Congratulations to Dr. Enasio Aisake Morris, who graduated from the University of Sydney, NSW, Australia in December 2008 with a Masters degree in Public Health.
Dr. Morris is the son of Lui and Keti Morris from Upu Motusa, Itu' ti'u. He currently is working towards the completion of his Fellowship in Emergency Medicine at Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW. Rotumans might remember him as a Medical Officer at Ahau Hospital, Rotuma in the 1995.
His additional qualifications are as follows:
Dr. Morris will be pursuing a PhD in Medicine in 2009.
In addition to his parents, Dr. Morris' family, including Keti and Kafoa, Toorak, Suva, Joe and Sharon, Suva, and Jennifer and Callistus, Nadawa, Suva, and friends congratulate him on his academic achievements to date and wish him the best of luck in his future.
From Fiji Daily Post Online (10 January 2009)
Development plans for Rotuma
SENIOR officials of the Ministry of Provincial Development, who completed a workshop for 2009 development projects on Thursday are keen on implementing government plans for far-flung Rotuma.
Commissioner Eastern, Tomasi Tui said the officials had discussed several key issues regarding Rotuma.
“These include the declaration of the port in Rotuma as an international port of entry to accommodate foreign vessels and harnessing the agriculture commodity,” said Tui.
He also noted the negotiations with the Tuvaluan government to import fresh root crops as well as vegetables from Rotuma for income generation as it is close to Tuvalu and far from Fiji.
“We are constructing a hot air treatment plant as according to the commodity protocol, all fruits and vegetables should be treated first before it is exported. We have completed our papers on commodity protocols and sent them to Tuvalu and this May both governments should be signing the protocols and would start exporting dalo, cassava, yams and sweet potatoes.”
Apart from this, Rotuma is focusing on institutional strengthening to enable government to provide better service in Rotuma through the upgrading of services such as the issuing of birth certificates at the Post Office in Rotuma and training youths on better waste disposals on the island.
There are also plans to upgrade Rotuma Airport as it was declared an international port of both sea and air. Negotiations with domestic flyer, Pacific Sun would link Rotuma and Tuvalu and consider expanding the route from Fiji-Rotuma to Kiribati.
“These are all in the proposals and this Friday, we will
be meeting in Nadi with the Prime Ministers Office and a task force who
looks after the Rotuma development programmes to finalise the specifications
of what to be done at Rotuma Airport in terms
From Fiji Times Online (9 January 2009)
Regime focuses on Rotuma
The interim Government is turning its focus towards Rotuma to achieve all its planned development projects at the island.
Fourteen key provincial development programs have been earmarked for Rotuma in 2009 while all development projects for 2008 was achieved, according to the interim regime.
Commissioner Eastern, Tomasi Tui said some of these projects are the declaration of the port in Rotuma as an international port of entry to accommodate foreign vessels to board in Rotuma and harnessing the agriculture commodity.
He also touched on the negotiation with the Tuvaluan government to import fresh root crops as well as vegetables from Rotuma for income generation as it is close to Tuvalu and far from Fiji.
"We are constructing a hot air treatment plant as according to the commodity protocol, all fruits and vegetables should be treated first before it is exported," he said.
"We have completed our papers on commodity protocols and sent them to Tuvalu and this May both governments should be signing the protocols and would start exporting dalo, cassava, yams and sweet potatoes."
Focus is also given to institutional strengthening on Rotuma to enable the interim Government in providing better service on the island by upgrading services such as the issuing of birth certificates at the Post Office in Rotuma and training youths on better waste disposals on the island.
Plans are also in the pipeline to upgrade the Rotuma airport after been declared an international port of both sea and air.
There are negotiations underway with Pacific Sun to link Rotuma and Tuvalu and consider expanding the route from Fiji-Rotuma to Kiribati.
From Fiji Times Online (7 January 2009)
Heavy rain, strong wind hits Rotuma
Update: 2:52PM Strong winds and heavy rains swept through Rotuma on Tuesday afternoon as a trough of low pressure north of Vanua Levu moves south and a low pressure system develops west of Fiji.
A visitor to the island, who wanted to remain anonymous, confirmed the island was experiencing heavy rains around mid-day yesterday.
"The weather started to change on Tuesday afternoon. There were strong winds and heavy rain all afternoon and throughout the night," she said.
"It's still raining heavily here and we were supposed to leave the island today but we havent been contacted about any changes with the boat schedule."
She said a relative had arrived on the MV Westerland from Suva today and told them seas were rough throughout the journey.
"The boat we were supposed to come back on is berthed at Motusa Bay but we are not sure when the boat is going to leave," she said.
"There is only one punt to take us to the boat and there is something wrong with the pump on the punt so people have to paddle back and forth."
The two weather systems moving towards the Fiji Group could develop into a cyclone by Friday.
Director of Meteorology Rajendra Prasad said mariners should stay away from the sea.
The two systems are expected to merge tomorrow and become active on Friday with rain becoming widespread and heavy.
From Marit Vamarasi in Evanston, Illinois (6 January 2009)
Be sure to check out the Rotuman language website (www.neiu.edu\~rotuman) if you haven't done so for a while. You'll find fun new word games, Rotuman songs to listen to while you read the words, "The Wicked Cat" story, and a message board. Coming soon: an interactive map of Rotuma! Please let me know what you think about what's there, as well as other things you would like to see added.
From Torike Sanerive in Melbourne (18 December 2008, posted 2 January 2009)
The Rotuman Association of Victoria (RAV) is in it's third year. I am the second president of the club, and in my second year of service. Our main aim is to concentrate on our youth group, which we plan to take to Rotuma in 2010. We are currently teaching them Rotuman language and dance.
Last Saturday we had a dance practice and photo shoot for a film regarding the performing arts for a Fiji Exhibition opening 28 March 2009 at the Immigration Museum. The Exhibition's themes are the religions, arts and sports of Fijians, Fiji Indians and Rotumans. I'm on the committee, which meets monthly (twice last month and this month). The photographer and extension manager borrowed my Rotuma book of pictures by Ian Osborne, along with a tofua. They also took my apei and 'eap het that mum gave me in 2004. Between now and 28 January I am supposed to bring them anything that can serve as an icon for Rotuman culture. This is our first time to participate in the Exhibition, so we would welcome advice and assistance.
The club's next Island Night is scheduled for 7 March 2009. We will cater it ourselves. This year (2008) our Island Night netted $7,000.