Fiji President Urges Unity and Inclusive Governance in 2024 Parliament Address

Fiji’s President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere underscored inclusive governance, democratic principles, and unity in his speech at the opening of the 2024 parliament today, in contrast to the previous year’s focus on praising resilience amid challenges.

Ratu Wiliame implored Parliament members and citizens to work together and seek common ground for the nation’s common good, reminding MPs in particular that these principles are the essence of true leadership.

“I humbly plead to you all to continue to promote harmony and embrace diversity in our nation,” Ratu Wiliame told MPs challenging them”to work across the aisle, find common ground on critical issues facing our nation, and put the people first, above petty political interest and personal ambition.”

“As democratically elected representatives, I ask that you listen to the voices of our people, not only those who elected you but to all our citizens young and old, men and women.”

In his address, Ratu Wiliame also underlined the importance of financial literacy for empowering citizens with security and self-reliance.

“I always believe that financial literacy will empower our people with financial security and self-reliance. Encouraging a culture of financial responsibility can have a positive impact on national prosperity and a secure future.

By providing access to comprehensive financial literacy supported with the enabling environment and necessary financial resources, we all can make informed decisions about saving, investing, and managing our finances effectively. For example, I would like to see Jone, who is a dalo farmer and Ram who sells sweets at his cart, learn how to manage and have access to finance.

At the same time, encourage a culture of saving which will allow the development of a sustainable investment plan for their families’ long-term security.”

He went on to discuss the challenges faced in addressing climate change and outlined Fiji’s economic and social development strategies.

In his speech, Ratu Wiliame also outlined targets the government intends to achieve this year including:

  • Finalising a National Development Plan by June this year
  • Tabled the Traditional Knowledge and Expression of Culture Bill in Parliament later this year
  • Table the new Disaster Risk Management Bill to replace National Natural Disaster Management Act in Parliament later this year
  •  Review the State Lands Act and related legislation to improve revenue collection
  • Review the Fisheries Act 1941 and related legislation
  • Continue the campaign to plant 30 million trees in 15 years
  • Give priority to reviewing the mahogany industry with a focus on sustainability
  • Review Local Government Act and Elections Act to facilitate municipal elections
  • Implement National Action Plan for Women’s Economic Empowerment.
  • Modernise and strengthen the legislative framework for children

He also alluded to the concept of the ‘Ocean of Peace’ for the Blue Pacific, which aims to create a cohesive, prosperous, secure, and influential geo-political block of Pacific island nations, the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal the wounds of the past coups and political instability, and the re-establishment of the tripartite labour fora with representation from workers, trade unions, and government to address issues relating to employment, productivity, workplace relations, and the national minimum wages.

The opening of the parliament today also saw a change in seating arrangement in the Fiji Coalition Government side, with former Minister for Education and SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro moving to the back bench.

Fiji President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere’s Address at the Opening of Parliament

Rabuka Stands Firm On Radrodro’s Dismissal

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