Investing in Rural Development: Government’s Bold Move

The Minister for Rural and Maritime Development, Sakiasi Ditoka, has announced that the government is prioritizing the expansion of the rural economy by investing in more rural infrastructure.

During his budget response, Ditoka emphasized that the new budget supports the government’s commitment to bridging the development inequalities between rural and urban areas.

“Our rural people have long been marginalized, with limited access to essential services, infrastructure, and economic opportunities. Recognizing and unlocking the wealth of resources, cultural heritage, and human potential in our communities remains our priority,” Ditoka said.

He stated that the government’s new budget for expanding rural infrastructure would enhance economic opportunities and empower individuals and communities in remote areas.

The budget allocation for this area has increased by 8.8 million dollars.

“This substantial investment demonstrates the government’s commitment to developing resilient rural communities as part of SDG 11. The coalition government firmly believes that enhancing access to main road networks for rural communities helps them integrate more effectively into our national economy and progress the nation overall,” he said.

“I appreciate the allocation of $354.8 million to the Fiji Road Authority for the ongoing construction and maintenance of roads, upgrading and replacing bridges and jetties, and upgrading rural roads,” he added.

A total of 5 million dollars has been allocated to the Ministry of Public Works for the maintenance and upgrade of rural roads, along with a 5 million dollars allocation to ease maritime shipping access.

Ditoka also highlighted that while rural areas are resource-rich, a majority of them are cash-poor. Therefore, a 6 million dollars allocation to the Agriculture ministry aims to boost productivity.

“Rural poverty remains a stark reality, but it holds the key to transforming communities and breaking the cycle of poverty,” Ditoka stressed.

“I commend the government for enhancing market access by allocating $2.5 million to the Agricultural Marketing Authority. This investment will complement assistance offered under the ministry to boost economic capabilities,” he added.

Additionally, a 5 million dollars grant to Pacific Polytech is expected to offer technical training for those from rural and maritime communities to address Fiji’s skill shortage.

The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development has been allocated a total of 37.9 million dollars in the new budget.

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