Letters To The Editor, December 30, 2014

Fuel Price Nardeo Mishra, Suva I would like to thank the Government and Commerce Commission for the Christmas gift they gave to the public of Fiji by reducing the fuel
30 Dec 2014 11:48

Fuel Price

Nardeo Mishra, Suva

I would like to thank the Government and Commerce Commission for the Christmas gift they gave to the public of Fiji by reducing the fuel prices before the due time.

The world crude price is still falling and I understand the current petrol price in Australia is about $1.10 cpl and in January we expect our prices to go down further.

With the reduction in fuel prices, we expect the goods and services costs to go down too, including bus, taxi and airfares too.


Let ratepayers   decide

Robin K Ali, Special Administrator, Nadi

I refer to the letter from one Dorsami Naidu under the above caption which was in your publication on 15/12/2014.

It’s obvious that the writer is ill-informed about the proposed development in Nadi.

Points raised are also very negative and anti-development for the town of Nadi. Nadi is seen as the fastest developing town in the South Pacific and the rate of development is attracting a lot of investors and the council with the embassies concerned are working hand in hand to stimulate investment.

This is the current Government’s initiative and the council is also of the same view.

He picked out the Nadi Market upgrade and expression of interest called for the proposed commercial development as Public Private Partnership Project.

Let me comment on the Market upgrade.


Market upgrade

– This development is on the spot where market vendors were selling produce from the concrete floor open to the harsh weather conditions. This upgrade has seen 300 table top stalls under a roof well ventilated.

– An area for night market which is currently been used by yaqona sellers.

– Hostel for 30 female market vendors who used to sleep on concrete footpaths at night and exposed to cold conditions and mosquitoes. These vendors are from the Nausori Highlands, Bukuya, Nadroga and Tavua.

These vendors could not go back to their villages at the end of the day because of their unsold produce and the high cost of travelling which is about $60 to $100 one way.

It seems to me that Mr Naidu lacks empathy to the vendors who toil hard to make a decent living for their families. Most of these vendors are women, who apart from their normal household chores, provide finance to make ends meet.

– A very high standard public convenience which is disable-friendly. It opens 24 hours a day with a minimal fee of $0.20.

– The project was funded by the Government through the Ministry of Local Government and the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Ministry of Local Government allocated $504,000 for the market extension and the Prime Minister’s Office allocated $300,000 for the women vendor hostel. The total Government grant allocated for the project was $804,000.

– Nadi Town Council’s contribution towards this significant project was $116,322.

– The beds were chosen by the Council and donated by Westpac Banking Corporation.

– Proper public tenders were called for the construction of the market and a reputable consulting engineer was appointed to evaluate the tenders and make recommendations to the Council.

The Tender Committee further deliberated on the evaluated recommendation presented by the consultant and presented a report in a special meeting of the Council.

The same consulting engineer was appointed to be the supervising engineer for the project.

No payment was released to the contractor without the approval and certification from the consulting engineer and the Council’s project manager.

The process of calling tenders for the job, awarding of the contract and the contract documents were vetted by the Ministry of Local Government and the Office of Solicitor-General. The acquittals were also thoroughly vetted by the Ministry of Local Government.

It is very naïve to say that proper procedures were not followed in the awarding of the contract for this project.


Expression of Interest for Development as Public Private Partnership Project

Expression of interest for this project was initially called by the elected council in the year 2003 and again by this council in January, 2014.

No concern was raised then and I cannot understand why now.

In fact, the council was approached by many investors and in order to be transparent, it was deemed ethical to advertise and call for “Expression of Interest” from interested parties.

Council is working hard towards achieving its corporate goals by creating opportunities for the people of Nadi to progress, improve quality of life for the Nadi          population, attract investment with the intention of creating additional economic activities and generating additional revenue to sustain the Councils operation.

The nature of development that we are looking at is utilising the limited space creating approximately 500 additional parking spaces which will create additional employment opportunities for residents of Nadi, addressing traffic flow without losing the open spaces and parks.

Mr Naidu probably does not know the part being played by the Government in addressing the flooding problems in Nadi and is not aware of the part being played by (i)JICA (ii)ADB and IWRM in addressing and minimising the effect of flooding in Nadi,

Mr Naidu may not be aware of the early warning device set in by IWRM and simulation exercise being taken regularly to keepthe public alert and informed.

Nevertheless Mr Naidu and the general public is hereby advised that they will be consulted by way of public participation exercise (PPE) should we proceed further in this project.

Their views and ideaswill be taken into consideration.

I advice Mr Naidu that Nadi Town Council is working in this project on the instructions and guidance of the Honourable Minister for Local Government and is committed to move Nadi forward.

Mr Dorsami Naidu also commented on the previous special administrator of the council.

I do not wish to make any comment on that since this issue is before the Court. Maybe, he has better knowledge of the issue and is also aware of the direct and indirect players in the saga.

In conclusion, I wish to request the writer to join hands with the Council and move Nadi forward for the good of all in Nadi rather than being anti-development.

The town of Nadi is developing at a rapid rate and the Council needs vibrant, enthusiastic and positive people to be part of an energetic team who are all working tirelessly to declare Nadi a City come 2017.

I hope with the above honest information, this issues be laid to rest and should Mr Dorsami Naidu have further issues that needs to be clarified, the doors for the Council are open and he is invited to call in for further discussion.

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