Newly renovated fisheries office opens in Rakiraki

Tui Navatu Ratu Akuila Kubou unveiling the plaque with Acting Permanent Secretary Fisheries Naipote Katonitabua. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE newly renovated Ministry of Fisheries office in Rakiraki was opened today after it was badly damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.

The newly renovated office, costing Government about $700,000, was commissioned by the ministry’s acting permanent secretary Naipote Katonitabua.

The Rakiraki Fisheries Office was not spared and the impact of severe TC Winston on the existing Rakiraki office infrastructure sustained close to 95 per cent damages.

In March 2016, the final estimated cost of damages sustained by the office stood at $250,000 and this included severe damages to the main office building infrastructure, office equipment and assets, the ice plant and cooling tower, as well as damages to the station’s vehicle.

Recovery efforts though slow, began soon after, with the initial efforts being the relocation of the operations of the Fisheries office and Officer in Charge Rakiraki to the Forestry Office closer to the town center in November of the same year.

Mr Katonitabua said the commissioning of the newly rebuilt fisheries office means that ministry officials can now continue to provide services and create a greater impact.

“Today marks an achievement for us as we continue to better our service delivery to our customers. We appreciate your presence to be part of this journey with us as we witness the commissioning of the Ministry of Fisheries Substation Office here in Rakiraki,” he said.

“On those fateful two days in mid-February 2016,  TC Winston cut a path of havoc and destruction across Fiji out of which 40 per cent of Fiji’s population was affected and the Government estimated the total cost of damages then, in the billions.

“The impact of TC Winston in the Province of Ra alone is something that is etched deeply in the hearts of the citizens of Fiji.”

The ministry was soon allocated $1.6million specifically towards Cyclone Rehabilitation for Ongoing Construction of Fisheries Institutional Buildings in the 2017-18 National Budget, whereby 44 per cent of this was allocated towards the complete rebuilding of the Rakiraki Fisheries Office.

“In ensuring the continuation of our services to our key customers and stakeholders, operations from the Forestry office continued for the next seven months until the rebuilding works was finally completed. OIC Rakiraki relocated back to this newly rebuilt office building in November, 2017 and operations continued from here until today,” he added.

“The commissioning of our newly rebuilt Rakiraki Fisheries Office is also a step towards realizing the broad vision for us as a country and that is “Transforming Fiji”.

“A step to transforming our services, through improving our infrastructure, for our fishermen, our communities, to the vanua and to the public to ensure that they are served better and as civil servants this is our calling-ensuring effective service delivery to the public.”

Mr Katonitabua said the Ministry of Fisheries was committed to driving service delivery effectiveness; a service that allowed them to contribute to the bigger picture outcome of the current Civil Service Reforms, creating a high performing civil service, implementing government priorities, and being responsive to and serving the public.

The Ministry of Fisheries aims to continue to provide a wide range of desk counter services, fisheries extension and advisory services, aquaculture development and extension services, coastal fisheries development and of course supplying ice to our key customers-our fishermen.

Principal Fisheries Officer (West) Neomai Ravitu said that most importantly the ministry wish to provide an environment to connect with customers and stakeholders.

“We believe that providing a quality service culture, through a new facility such as this, is essential in sustaining and driving the continuous growth of our economy which has become increasingly service-oriented.

“We will also continue to make further improvements to deliver on our commitments and meet your expectations by making our services simpler, easier and accessible to our customers,” said Ms Ravitu.

The newly rebuilt Rakiraki Fisheries Office was constructed by FORTECH Construction Ltd, Building and Civil Contractors who were contracted by Government to rebuild the office.

More Stories