Improving water and sanitation facilities for rural Fijians is one of the focus of Government, says Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu.
He made the comments following a meeting with Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) Chief Excutive Officer Mr. Barry Omundson this week, reiterating that Fijians in rural and maritime areas needed to have the same level of access to improved facilities as enjoyed by those residing in urban centres. In the 2020-2021 financial year, the Government has allocated a sum of $750,000 to WAF for the provision of high risk water and sanitation facilities in rural Fiji.
The Ministry and WAF, together with the Ministries of Infrastructure and Economy met yesterday to discuss high risk water and sanitation needs of rural communities and to identify strategies to address it. Other key stakeholders and agencies will be included in future discussions.
“There is a need for us to collaborate and work together, given the current situation that we are in and of course in terms of the effectiveness and the efficiency in the programmes that we run in our respective agencies and ministries,” Minister Seruiratu said.
“Water Authority of Fiji is a key stakeholder and for us, in terms of improving the quality of lives in our rural population, water and sanitation is one of the target areas so that we can lift the standard of living in rural Fiji.” Minister Seruiratu also emphasised the importance and role of the Intergrated Rural Development Framework (IRDF) in bringing agencies to work together.
“I have always emphasised that when we coordinate, we become more effective and efficient at a lesser cost.”
Speaking during the meeting, Mr. Omundson said he looked forward to working with the Ministry and suggested that there be more meetings of rural development stakeholders in fulfilling Government’s commitments and aspirations.
Minister Seruiratu has also assured Mr. Omundson that the Ministry would be closely working with WAF to improve living standards of Fijians.