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Mahogany Trust Hosts Board Induction

Fiji Mahogany Trust was hailed for improvement of its operations since the Prime Minister’s office suspended an annual grant of $250,000. The trust met in Suva yesterday for the induction
09 Apr 2021 10:00
Mahogany Trust Hosts Board Induction
Fiji Mahogany Trust Board met yesterday with Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister’s office, Yogesh Karan who was the chief guest.

Fiji Mahogany Trust was hailed for improvement of its operations since the Prime Minister’s office suspended an annual grant of $250,000.

The trust met in Suva yesterday for the induction of its board members, where permanent secretary to the Prime Minister’s office, Yogesh Karan, presided as chief guest.

The new board members are Paula Tuivanuayalewa, Liene Waqa, Ropate Rakuro, Paula Kamikamica, Simione Naiduki and Suliasi Raga.

Other members were re-elected. Mr Karan said he put an immediate stop to the grant in 2016, as it involved public funds and was subject to public scrutiny.

“We need to have audited account reports submitted and annual reports – there were some gaps,” Mr Karan said.

Since then, the secretariat’s leadership has turned the organisation around where all reports are submitted on a quarterly basis, he said.

“We’d like to see that this continues,” Mr Karan said.

“This applies to every institution in the country that survives, or has some portion of a grant given to them as public funds.”

“All other budgets were slashed because of COVID-19.”

But in this particular case, we did not want any money as such to be decreased for you.”

Mr Karan said: “Last year, there was a request from you that we should increase this funding.”

He however explained reasons behind the decision to hold off an increase in the grant.

“We can see that you are on the right track; we can always consider the increase,” Mr Karan said.

When the Prime Minister’s office put in place a proposal for an increment in the grant, the COVID-19 crisis arrived, he said.

Mr Karan said he did not see a problem with the need to increase the grant.

However, the Government used part of the proceeds from the sector to clear Fiji Hardwood Corporation’s $1.5 million debt, he said.

Mr Karan met with the mahogany stakeholders twice in the past week where he emphasised the need for more local micro-enterprises to benefit from the mahogany sector.

“The idea is to have good governance, so that we keep these funds intact and when the time of need comes, we’re able to help each other,” he said.

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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