The Tailevu Provincial Council commenced today at Nasautoka Village in Wainibuka, marking the first meeting of its kind in the Tikina.
This event held special significance for the province as it marked the inaugural provincial council meeting officiated by His Excellency the President, Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere.
Representatives from all 22 districts of Tailevu attended the solemn opening ceremony, which also marked their first provincial council meeting under the Coalition Government.
In his address, His Excellency acknowledged Matanitu Kubuna for installing the Vunivalu na Tui Kaba after more than 30 years and recognized the province's role in reconvening the Great Council of Chiefs on the Chiefly Island of Bau.
"That, in itself, represents a significant stride in reaffirming the relationship among the three confederacies – Kubuna, Burebasaga, and Tovata," remarked His Excellency.
"We can affirm that it marked the dawn of a new day for Fiji and the commencement of a new era," said His Excellency.
"We should celebrate this moment, as it lays the foundation for strong and effective leadership that will propel our country forward," President Katonivere emphasized.
However, President Katonivere acknowledged the prevalent challenge of numerous vacant leadership positions in many provinces and urged not only the province of Tailevu but also the other 13 provinces in the country to expedite the appointment of the rightful holders for the vacant chiefly positions.
His Excellency also highlighted that a total of $2.1 million is allocated for Turaga-ni-Koro, with their monthly allowance increased from $100 to $150. Additionally, allowances for Mata-ni-Tikina have been raised to $150, and $0.8 million has been allocated for all Turaga-Ni-Yavusas' monthly allowance.
"These increases are aimed at supporting the efficient performance of the respective Liuliu ni Yavusa’s and Turaga ni Koro’s in serving their communities," stated President Katonivere.
“To bolster iTaukei administration and provincial councils, a grant of $10.8 million is allocated, covering funding for the 14 provincial councils. This includes $4.3 million designated for the salaries and wages of 182 provincial council officers, alongside other operational expenses totaling around $6.1 million.”
The President also acknowledged the recent launch of the Tailevu Strategic Plan 2023 - 2050.
Within this framework, the province is guided by 8 fundamental pillars:
1. Spiritual Wellbeing
2. Good Governance
3. Wellbeing
4. Human Resource Development
5. Sustainable Economic Growth
6. Environment and Climate Change
7. Culture and Heritage
8. Innovation and Technology.
The Head of State reiterated the importance of the people of Tailevu supporting the strategic plan and ensuring that each tikina and the 146 villages in the province reap its benefits.
"Consider the future you wish for Tailevu – one in disarray or one rich in culture, with prosperous people and spiritual well-being," urged His Excellency.
"Your province has the opportunity to lead the change our government seeks for our nation – to foster a unified country where people are content, working together towards peace and prosperity," emphasized President Katonivere.
Meanwhile, Tailevu Provincial Council Chairman Mr. Rusiate Tudravu thanked His Excellency for making time for his busy schedule to be with them today.
"Your esteemed presence not only exemplifies your exceptional leadership but also underscores your unwavering commitment to prioritizing your people. Your dedication to fostering harmonious coexistence among different races, coupled with your emphasis on environmental preservation, is truly commendable. It's leaders like you who pave the way for a brighter, unified future for our community," said Mr. Tudravu.
The 2-day meeting will conclude tomorrow. Tailevu Province has 22 Districts and 146 Villages.