Lautoka, Fiji: The Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister of Fiji, Sitiveni Rabuka, Sakiusa Tabuna, visited the Solomon Islanders residing at Nasowata Settlement in Lautoka Today, Friday, July 7, 2023. he expressed his gratitude to meet the Soloman Islanders and acknowledged their forefathers‘ contributions and struggles in the nation’s Development.
As per the Update, The visit coincided with the commemoration of Solomon Islands Independence Day, highlighting the significant contributions made by the Solomon Islanders to the Development of Fiji over the past century.
Known initially as Navutu Solomoni, the settlement was established 109 years ago by Solomon Islanders who sought new opportunities and a better life.
Facing numerous hardships, these resilient settlers were brought to Fiji against their will by blackbirders. However, despite the difficult circumstances, they persevered and played an integral role in the nation’s Development.
Expressing his gratitude, Hon Tubuna thanked the descendants of the Solomon Islanders for their contributions and acknowledged the struggles endured by their forefathers.
“I take great pride in representing you in Parliament, as I have ancestral ties to the Solomon Islands, and I assure you that Government is here to serve all the people of this nation irrespective of your ethnicity or political affiliations,” said the Assistant Minister.
“Government is committed to formalizing the status of your settlements, with the establishment of a dedicated ministry to address your needs as we deem all of you an essential part of our country.”
He highlighted the importance of their settlement and assured them that the government was committed to formalizing their status by establishing a dedicated ministry to address their needs.
The recently announced national budget was another point of discussion during the visit.
Hon Tubuna emphasized that the budget was designed with the welfare of the people in mind, particularly low-income earners. He revealed that 22 essential food items and certain medicines were now exempted from value-added tax (VAT) to alleviate the financial burden on families.
Furthermore, he urged the settlers to utilize idle land for agriculture, emphasizing the government’s support.
“As part of broader fiscal measures, Government has also increased taxes on businesses and reduced the pay of government ministers, including allowances.” he quoted.
“These steps were taken to ensure that funds were redirected towards initiatives benefiting the people at large,” said Hon Tubuna.
Hon Tubuna encouraged unity among all Fijians and acknowledged the critical role of the iTaukei landowners in allowing Solomon and Vanuatu islanders to settle on their land across the country.
He assured the settlers that the coalition government recognized and valued their contributions, expressing a commitment to working together as one people.
In closing, Hon Tubuna’s visit symbolized a renewed appreciation for the Solomon Islanders’ legacy and their integral part in Fiji’s Development.
The government’s proactive approach towards addressing their needs and the overall welfare of the people was highlighted, fostering a spirit of unity and inclusivity within the nation.
The Solomon Islands gained Independence in 1978 and celebrates its 45th year Today, the 7th day of July.
The Assistant Minister also sends sincere congratulations
to the citizens of the Solomon Islands as they commemorate their 45th Anniversary of Independence.