Increase to help RFMF fulfill role

Minister for National Security and Defence Ratu Inoke Kubuabola with Opposition MP Parmod Chand in Parliament. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

THE increase in the Republic of Fiji Military Forces budget allocation is to allow the security agency to perform its constitutional role, and prepare itself against challenges brought by climate change, radicalism and transnational crime, says Minister for Defence Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

While lauding the RFMF’s $103.2 million allocation in Parliament this week, he said the amount was an increase of $7.1m from last year’s allocation.

“The RFMF’s operation strategy is to be able to respond independently and effectively to more immediate challenges,” he said.

“Therefore, the bulk of the budget is skewed towards maintaining operational response, readiness and the conduct of services to the nation such as conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts, conducting search and rescue missions in Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and remote search and rescue missions on land, mapping and update of hydrographic nautical charts for maritime users and assisting Government in delivering projects in rural and remote parts of Fiji.

“For the 2018/19 financial year, the RFMF will place greater emphasis on investing in institutional knowledge and fostering its human capital development through training and development programs.

“Such training is important for the correct posturing of the RFMF and more so, in enhancing interoperability with their counterparts, as was effectively witnessed during the TC Winston HADR operations when RFMF was working in concert with the Australian, New Zealand and other defence forces.”

He said the budget increase covered for overseas and in-house training, increase in meal allowances and periodic replacement of head to toe kits.

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