1.         Re-opening of Embassies in Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and U.S.A; Establishment of an Embassy in Israel
Cabinet agreed that the re-opening of three Embassies in Kuala Lumpur, Port Moresby and Washington, and the establishment of a new Embassy in Israel, be considered in the 2023 – 2024 national budget.
Following the global COVID-19 pandemic, a total of five Missions (Washington DC, Seoul, Port Moresby, Brussels and Kuala Lumpur) were closed as part of Government’s 2020/2021 budgetary response.
Fiji’s engagement with these countries is currently undertaken by other Missions on accreditation arrangements.
With the opening of borders and return to normal activity around the globe, there is a need to comprehensively expand Fiji’s global presence. In addition, Fiji has maintained amicable relations with the State of Israel, through bilateral cooperation on peace and security, and areas such as Agriculture.
Our cooperation with Israel is currently facilitated through the Israel Embassy in Canberra, and through the Office of the Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations (PRUN) in New York.
The establishment of an embassy in Israel is a commitment of the People’s Coalition Government.
2.         Lifting of the Sea Cucumber Ban and Revised Criteria for Operators
Cabinet approved the lifting of the ban on harvesting of sea cucumber for a period of six months commencing from 1 July, 2023.
The Ministry of Fisheries will consult with Divisional Commissioners on the issuance of harvesting licenses.
The Ministry of Fisheries will work in partnership with the Ministry iTaukei Affairs, Culture, Heritage and Arts will carry out general awareness pertaining to the implementation of this decision.
3.         Update on Ease of Doing Business Project
Cabinet was updated on the outcomes of the comprehensive review of the digitisation of business processes in Government.
The digitisation process commenced in 2017, and the inception of the bizFIJI portal (now known as businessNOW FIJI) in 2019, provided for the first time a one-stop-shop information platform on starting a business, construction permits, paying taxes, to name a few, on one digital platform. It provides links to key Government e-services and is regularly updated.
The Singapore Corporation Enterprise (SCE) was engaged to undertake the Business Review Process in 2018 and development of bizFIJI Portal in 2019.
Following the launch of bizFIJI Portal, the next phase of the reform project is to establish an online integration platform called Fiji’s Integrated Licenses and Permits Approval System (FILPAS) for approval processes for Starting a Business and Obtaining a Construction Permit, as a starting point for overall improvements and automation of business operating licences.
4.         Inauguration of Fiji Trade Commission North America Office in San Francisco
Cabinet was updated on the inauguration of Fiji’s Trade Commission North America Office on 29 May 2023 in San Francisco.
The Office serves as a vital link between Fiji and the North American market, connecting businesses, investors, and our diaspora with Government, agencies, and businesses back home.
The North America Trade Commission will also provide passport services to Fiji citizens in San Francisco and the West Coast of the United States.
Currently, passport services are offered out of the Fiji Embassy in Washington DC, and the Embassy Passports Team occasionally visits the Trade Commission for a two-week period to conduct mobile passport enrolment service.
This mobile passport enrolment service has been offered at the Trade Commission three times over the past year, and appointments have been fully booked each time. There is currently a waitlist for the next round of mobile passport enrolment services.
5.         Increase in Manpower – Republic of Fiji Military Forces Engineers Regiment
Cabinet agreed that the proposal to increase the staff establishment of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Engineers Regiment be considered through the normal budgetary process.
The increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters in Fiji exacerbate the problem of manpower shortage in the Regiment, thus the proposal to increase the establishment.
The increase will be subject to the normal budgetary process.
6.         Implementation of Recommendations of the International Labour Organisation Committee on the Application of Standards
Cabinet approved
The CAS observed serious allegations concerning violation of basic civil liberties, including arrests and assaults, and restrictions of freedom of association, and called on the Fiji Government to undertake the following:
  1. refrain from interfering in the designation of the representatives of social partners on tripartite bodies;
  1. reconvene the Employment Relations Advisory Board (ERAB) without delay in order to start a legislative reform process;
  1. complete without further delay the full legislative reform process as agreed under the Joint Implementation Report (JIR) which was signed under the Tripartite Agreement on 29 January 2016;
  1. refrain from anti-union practices, including arrests, detentions, violence, intimidation, harassment and interference;
  1. ensure that workers’ and employers’ organisations are able to exercise their rights to freedom of association, freedom of assembly and speech without undue interference by the public authorities; and
  1. ensure that normal judicial procedures and due process are guaranteed to workers’ and employers’ organisations and their members.
The People’s Coalition Government has made significant progress to rectify the issues highlighted in the CAS report. In view of this, the DCM visit will be deferred to allow for full implementation of recommendations.
7.         Allowance for Liuliu ni Yavusa position holders
Cabinet agreed that the proposal for an allowance for the Liuliu ni Yavusa (LNY) be subject to the normal budgetary process.
The Liuliu ni Yavusa are an important component of traditional iTaukei institutions under the Vanua governance structure.
There are 6,220 chiefly titles in Fiji; 2,892 have been formally installed and confirmed while 3,328 are vacant. Of the 1,375 Liuliu ni Yavusa positions, 643 (46%) have been formally installed and confirmed by the iTaukei Land and Fisheries Commission (ILFC) while 732 (54%) are vacant. 
The proposal to strengthen traditional governance as a significant component of Vanua development, is to recognize the significant role of Liuliu ni Yavusa through a monthly allowance for those confirmed by the ILFC.
It is anticipated that the decision will encourage various Yavusa to formally install their Liuliu ni Yavusa. The ILFC stands prepared to facilitate formal installations within the current protocols and procedures to avoid disputes.
The cost implications will be considered through the normal budgetary process.
8.         Revival of Village Improvement Scheme
Cabinet endorsed the reactivation of the Village Improvement Scheme (VIS).
The scheme was initiated in 2001 to provide assistance for basic infrastructural development including evacuation facilities as well as drainage and sanitation improvements to raise living standards in iTaukei villages.
The Scheme is intended to address the need to improve basic infrastructure, basic drainage and sanitation requirements.
The iTaukei Affairs Board is currently undertaking the second village profiling exercise. Data from the village profiling exercise will inform the development of an Integrated Village Development Plan (IVDP).
The design and implementation of the VIS will be aligned to the IVDP. It will include the identification of villages in dire need of assistance and a revised VIS Guideline that inculcates the TOR, Criteria and a streamlined approval process.
There will be an inter-Ministry officials committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs that will screen all applications and recommend projects for assistance to the Minister for iTaukei Affairs who is the approving authority for VIS assistance.
Funding for the scheme will be considered through the annual budget process.
9.       Strategic Review of the iTaukei Administration
Cabinet endorsed the strategic review of the iTaukei Administration. Cabinet noted that the review of the iTaukei administration is long overdue. The review will focus on the structure and functions of the iTaukei Administration.
Funding for the review will be considered through the normal budgetary process.
10.       Review of the iTaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission
Cabinet considered a proposal for a review of the iTaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission (TLFC).
TLFC plays a significant role on the iTaukei vanua governance system, and it needs to be transformed into a robust institution that responds effectively and efficiently to the needs of its stakeholders including Government ministries, departments, and statutory bodies.
The strategic review will be coordinated by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs.
Funding for the review will be considered through the normal budgetary process.
11.       Review of the iTaukei Land Trust Board
Cabinet considered a proposal for the review of the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB).
Recent reviews focused on improving operational efficiency and work processes. This resulted in strengthening TLTB’s corporate governance, implementing a risk management framework, complaints management system, adoption of digital transformation models and supporting government’s socio-economic and infrastructure projects.
The intent of the review is to enhance participation and promoting economic empowerment of the landowning units, in TLTB’s trusteeship- role.
The 2023 review will be guided by the following principles:
  1. Sustainability – all institutions, projects or programs must derive measurable returns (financial or social, etc);
  2. Accountability – this requires proper governance and includes defining the qualification of trustees and other appointments;
  3. Inclusiveness – including women and youth in development; and
  4. Future preservation – preserving some benefits for future generations, which includes wealth creation.
The TLTB will fund the review.
12.       Proposal to increase Gravel Royalty Rate
Cabinet agreed that consultations be undertaken on the proposal to increase current royalty rates on sand and gravel, clay and soil, rock, topsoil and river spalls extracted as per Regulation 11 of the iTaukei Land Trust (Gravel Regulations) 1998 under the iTaukei Land Trust Act 1940.
The rates will be finalised following the consultation process.
13.       Policy Framework on Live Coral and Cultured Live Rock Trade
Cabinet approved the policy framework for live coral and cultured live rock trade.
The policy framework allows for coral and cultured live rock trade to be permitted under strict guidelines and conditions for companies to ensure sustainability.
The CITES Scientific Council and CITES Management Authority will convene to decide on the trade quota based on scientific advice provided by the Ministry of Fisheries.
Necessary legislative amendments will be made in line with the policy framework before companies can proceed with the export of coral and cultured live rock trade.
14.       Code of Practice for Wood Processing Facilities (Sawmills and Log Yards)
Cabinet approved a Code of Practice for Wood Processing Facilities.
The Code of Practice is to enhance the efficiency in the overall sawmilling and log yard operations.
The Ministry of Forestry will oversee the implementation of the Code of Practice.
15.       Fiji’s Voluntary National Review Report 2023
Cabinet approved Fiji’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report 2023.
The report will be submitted to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in July 2023. Fiji presented its first VNR Report on 18 July 2019.
The VNR is a voluntary, state-led review to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The second VNR report focused on the core principals of the 2030 Global Agenda calling for a robust, voluntary, effective, transparent and participatory process.
The report reflects contributions made by all stakeholders to the attainment of the SDGs for the past four years (2019-2022), particularly that of civil society organisations (CSOs), government ministries and departments, development partners and donor agencies.

16.       Fiji Institute of Chartered Accountants (Amendment) Regulations 2023
Cabinet approved the Fiji Institute of Chartered Accountants (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (Regulations).
The Regulations will amend Fiji Institute of Chartered Accountants Regulations 2022 which provides for the administration of the Fiji Institute of Chartered Accountants (Institute) pursuant to the Fiji Institute of Chartered Accountants Act 2021.
Regulation 24 currently provides that the quorum for a meeting of the Institute is to be 50% of the total number of members present and entitled to vote.
It also provides that a meeting of the Institute may be held at such times provided a written request is made by not less than 50% of voting members of the Institute.
This has been amended to replace 50% to 50 members.
17.       World Bank International Development Association (IDA) financing for Phase 1 of Tourism Development Programme on Vanua Levu (Multi-Phase Programmatic Approach Financing)
Cabinet approved the Financing Agreement with the World Bank International Development Association (IDA) financing for Phase 1 of the Fiji Tourism Development Program in Vanua Levu.
The Fiji Tourism Development Program in Vanua Levu is to improve the resilience and sustainability of the tourism industry, including short-term recovery and longer-term diversification and high-value growth, and to facilitate the execution of existing Government plans.
Phase 1 of USD 61.5 million runs from year 1 to year 6 commencing from this year 2023, will set the foundations for sustainable tourism in Vanua Levu.
18.       World Bank’s Business Ready (B-Ready) Report
Cabinet approved a ‘Whole of Government’ approach to prepare for the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Business Ready (B-Ready) Report.
The B-Ready report is a benchmarking exercise, with the objective of providing a quantitative assessment of the business environment for private sector development, to be published annually and covering most economies worldwide.
It promotes a balanced approach when assessing the business environment between:
  1. ease of conducting a business and broader private sector benefits;
  2. regulatory framework and public services;
  3. de jure laws and regulations and de facto practical implementation; and
  4. data representativeness and data comparability.
The WBG has opted for a staggered, 3-year cycle for the publication of the full set of B-Ready Report to cover 180 countries. The initial Report will cover 60 countries and be published in April 2024, thus the data collection has already begun. The second Report will cover 120 countries and will be published in April 2025. This includes the first 60 countries. 
Fiji will be included in the third Report, to be published in April 2026, and covering 180 countries. This will include 120 countries from the first 2 Reports.
Data collection for Fiji will begin in 2024.
19.       Name Change for Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation
Cabinet approved name change for the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, to the ‘Ministry of Women, Children and Social Protection’.
Social Protection programmes have played an important role in providing a safety net for individuals against economic risk and vulnerability, and this will now be appropriately reflected in the Ministry’s new name.
The new name will be effective from 1 August 2023.
20.       Update on the Outcomes of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Ministerial Meeting
Cabinet was briefed on the outcome of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Ministerial Meeting that was held in Detroit, U.S.A from 26 – 27 May 2023.
The Meeting substantially concluded the IPEF Pillar 2 Supply Chain Agreement.
The Supply Chain Agreement seeks commitments to improving transparency, diversity, security, and sustainability in our supply chains to make them more resilient and well-integrated.
It looks to coordinate crisis response measures, expand cooperation to better prepare for and mitigate the effects of disruptions to better ensure business continuity; improve logistical efficiency and support and ensure access to key critical goods or services.
The text for the IPEF Supply Chain Agreement Supply Chain Agreement will now undergo legal scrubbing, following which it will be tabled in Parliament for ratification.
21.       The Tenth International Lapita Conference
Cabinet approved financial support for the 10th Lapita Conference which will be held in Suva next week.
The Conference is being jointly organised by the Fiji Museum in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific.
The Conference will feature the gathering of renowned Pacific archaeologists who have undertaken years of research in the Pacific to present preliminary findings and the recent refinement in technological and academic enhancement to fine tuning dating results and analysis of cultural materials.