Analysis

Nemani Delaibatiki: Usamate A Quiet Achiever, Not An Attention Seeker

12 months in office since the 2018 GENERAL election, he’s been on the road visiting developments. The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services is content working away from the prying eyes of the media.
19 Nov 2019 14:30
Nemani Delaibatiki: Usamate A Quiet Achiever, Not An Attention Seeker
Minister for Infrastructure Jone Usamate outside Parliament on April 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Analysis:

If you don’t see much of Jone Usamate in the news, it’s because he is not a publicity seeker.

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services is humble and modest about his achievements.

He likes to be judged by the people when they see what he actually does – not by how he is portrayed by the media.

Don’t get me wrong – he is not anti-media, but he is a person who does not blow his proverbial trumpet.

Publicity or not, Mr Usamate is passionate about his role and he is a member of Cabinet that Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama can count on in an emergency.

Since his appointment after the 2018 General Election, Mr Usamate has been working hard, visiting and updating himself on projects taking shape on the ground.

He has visited roadwork, electricity and water projects in the four divisions.

He has made it very clear that these projects are crucial to national development.

In the Central Division, the projects he visited included the Natovi Jetty in Tailevu. The jetty has increasingly become pivotal in the transport industry, linking Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

In the energy sector, Mr Usamate has said that 95 per cent of Fijians now have access to electricity, 80 per cent are connected to Energy Fiji Limited.

The Government has given $224 million to develop the energy sector. Providing power to the people is necessary for economic development.

When he was sworn as a minister, he said his job was to make sure that he improved and carried on the work that was done in partnership with his fellow ministers.

Road works and disaster management

He has been seen travelling with other ministers to rural areas and jointly addressing issues that people raise.

Road transport is one of the issues. He has worked with Fiji Roads Authority and the Lands Transport Authority to improve certain areas.

On disaster management, there is more clarity as systems are enhanced. This is linked to the ongoing concern about the impact of climate change on our environment and people’s livelihood.

On the same vein, Mr Usamate says Government must continue to partner with research institutes to work in collaboration to set the platform to build a strong foundation towards achieving a Blue-Green Economy.

He recognises that research institutions continue to play a key role on the research and development of new and emerging renewable energy technologies entering our market.

“However, our current engagement with these institutions is on an ad-hoc basis. In this regard, there needs to be clear direction and innovative programmes in place where Government, institutions and donor partners work together to identify best technologies and solutions that meet and address our local needs,” he says.

“The adage which says ‘one size does not fit all’ is true as the performance of renewable energy technologies varies in different countries because of different climatic conditions and other factors. We need to develop home-grown or tailor-made solutions that best suit our needs.”

The Fijian Government, he says, continues to partner and take an inclusive approach to achieve its National Development Targets.

“To achieve this target it will require concrete, inclusive and holistic participation of all key partners and stakeholders and our five and 20-Year National Development Plan (NDP), and other national planning frameworks set the platform and a strong foundation for our future prosperity and well-being,” Mr Usamate said.

“We have set a very ambitious target which is to provide electricity access to all Fijians by 2021 and to increase the renewable share in electricity generation to 100 per cent by 2036.”

Feedbacknemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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