Rising Stars Of Civil Service

The rising stars of the civil service have been called upon to man the fort in some ministries as Government continues its planned reforms. While it may be business as
10 Jan 2015 11:09
Rising Stars  Of Civil Service
From left Deputy secretary for Foreign Affairs Esala Nayaga, Ministry of Education Kelera Taloga and Deputy Secretary in PM's Office, Naipote Katonitabua.

The rising stars of the civil service have been called upon to man the fort in some ministries as Government continues its planned reforms.

While it may be business as usual for some of them, it is significant because of the circumstances.

They could find their role challenging in the middle of public service reforms.

Previously deputy secretaries were required to act when permanent secretaries were away.

This time they will act for a longer period because their bosses are unlikely to be coming back. Contracts for all permanent secretaries expired on December 31, 2014.

They have to reapply if they want their jobs back as part of the comprehensive reforms.

Twelve have been given a three-month extension to ensure that the Government service is not disrupted. Six have exited the civil service.

They can still reapply if they want to when the advertisements are published.

All permanent secretary posts and other key positions will be advertised

and applications are open to all including people living overseas.

Six deputy secretaries have stepped up and slotted in as acting permanent secretaries.

It is indicative of the Government’s confidence in their ability to rise to the challenge and do an excellent job.

They have been told that they will act until substantive appointments are made.

It is understood that most of them are considering applying for the top jobs. Why not, they have the knowledge, skills and experience.

They are Esala Nayasi, who is replacing Amena Yauvoli in Foreign Affairs; Dr Maciusela Tuicakau replacing Dr Eloni Tora in Health and Medical Services; Uraia Waibuta replacing Ropate Ligairi in Agriculture; Setareki Tale replacing Filipe Alifereti in Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management; Naipote Katonitabua carrying on in acting role in Prime Minister’s Office after the departure of Pio Tikoduadua now Minister for Infrastructure and Transport; Kelera Taloga replacing Basundra Kumar who was also acting but moved back to deputy secretary in Education, Heritage and Arts.

How much do you know about them?

Here’s a profile of some of them.



Mr Nayasi, in his 30s, a lawyer by profession, was appointed deputy secretary (operations) in Foreign Affairs in June last year. He was the director of political and treaties since January 2012.

Before that he served as the the second secretary and later as first secretary at the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the United Nations in New York for a total term of four years.

Mr Nayasi joined the civil service in 2005, and worked under the Political and Treaties Division for more than two years before his diplomatic posting.

He graduated with a law degree from the University of the South Pacific. He also undertook post-graduate studies.

He was admitted to the bar in Fiji in 2005 and completed a number of UN fellowships on international law, including the Summer Programme at the Hague Academy of International Law.



Mr Waibuta, 50, a career civil servant started in Agriculture and has progressed through the ranks.

He has served for 24 years and is highly regarded as the face of Agriculture, building working relationships between people at the grassroot level and ministry officers.

He has an excellent rapport with ministry staff.

He was educated at Queen Victoria School and Navuso Agricultural School where he attained a certificate in Tropical Agriculture.

He later gained a Diploma in Tropical Agriculture from the Fiji School of Agriculture in Koronivia and a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the University of the South Pacific.

He has attended many international courses and conferences.

He is undergoing a MBA programme. Mr Waibuta is also the chairman of the Rewa Provincial Council. He was appointed by the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama.



Ms Taloga, in her early fifties, is a career civil servant in the Ministry of Education. She is a passionate and dedicated educator.

The ministry has been recognised as a global leader in financial education since 2013, when it implemented the integration of learning about personal money management into the core curriculum from years one to 12.

Ms Taloga has been at the forefront of the Fiji Financial Education initiative as a contributor and head of project.

Prior to her appointment as deputy secretary in 2012, Ms Taloga was actively involved in the areas of curriculum development and examinations and formal assessment.

She began her career teaching at secondary school level and has held a number of positions within the Fiji school system, including the prominent Lautoka Teachers College, as well as the Ministry of Education.

Ms Taloga holds a series of qualifications in education, food science and technology, science and mathematics, including a Masters of Education from the University of the South Pacific.



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