The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji organised a refresher on Public Finance Management and budget reporting journalists in Suva today, ahead of next week’s budget announcement and in the wake of the release of the Fiscal Review Committee report.
Recognising the vital role of the media in Fiji in disseminating critical budget updates to citizens, the workshop aimed to enhance journalists’ capacity in delivering accurate and informative reports on public finance matters.
During the workshop that was facilitated by the European Union-funded Vaka Pasifika project, journalists heard insights from Fiscal Review Committee members senior economics lecturer Neelesh Gounder and Fiji Council of Social Services executive director Vani Catanisiga who spoke to their findings and how it plays into the national budget which is scheduled to be announced at 10am on Friday, June 30.
In his introductory remarks, EU ambassador Sujiro Seam noted: “Participation in collective choices is the essence of Democracy. This is why Budget consultation matters, as they translate collective choices into action. In this regard, the press has a key role to play, to inform citizens in a form that they can understand, and to ask the hard questions on fiscal revenues and public expenditures. Through media training, with the support from the European Union, the Vaka Pasifika project, in partnership with international and regional organisations, civil society, and the media, contributes to improving public finance management throughout the Pacific.”
UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji resident rep a.i. Dawn Del Rio echoed the same sentiments and expressed hope that the training would enable journalists to continue fostering a culture of accountability, transparency, and positive change.
“By emphasising the significance of visual communication and imparting essential knowledge and skills, our collective aspiration is to enrich public discourse surrounding the national budget and catalyse transformative outcomes for Fiji,” she said.