Despite the varying challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic on the country, these are still exciting times for our rural communities. Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu said this was due to COVID-19 not directly affecting the livelihood of Fijians living in the rural areas.
He highlighted this during a meeting with advisory councillors from Bua during his first day of tour in the North on Wednesday.
“For us agriculture is our livelihood, fishing is our livelihood and we can run our small businesses because despite the loss of jobs people still need to be fed,” Minister Seruiratu said. “And we are the ones who will have to provide them with food.
“We are the ones who will have to provide them with fish, goat meat and beef.” “This is an exciting time for us, we just need to work together and look at what is needed.”
Minister Seruiratu also reminded the Bua Advisory Councillors to deliver their services according to the machineries of Government. “We need to respect the machineries of Government. Work through your PAs [Provincial Administrators], your DOs [District Officers], but if you’re not getting the feedback that you want, feel free to contact us.”
Minister Seruiratu added that there were a few things that he wanted the ministry to improve and one of which was customer service.
The Advisory Councillors also raised issues affecting communities they served to the Minister.
Paid a monthly allowance by government, district advisory councillors assist the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management in identifying development priorities in the communities within their jurisdiction.
They also assist the Ministry in community disaster risk management before, during and after disasters.
There are a total of 77 district advisory councillors in the Northern Division and 11 of them serve in the Province of Bua.