21 Aug 2003

Fiji government review of Fijian Administration suggets merger of Great Council of Chiefs and Fijian

9:38 am on 21 August 2003

A review of the Fijian Administration, a system of local government for indigenous Fijians only, set up during colonial days has recommended major changes.

The review has recommended the establishment of a ministry of indigenous affairs and provincial government with the transfer of the current divisional functions to provincial administrations.

It also recommended the merger of the Great Council of Chiefs and the Fijian Affairs Board under one secretariat.

Current district administrations which cater for the needs of all communities will be phased out and their functions incorporated into the provincial administration which is at present responsible only for indigenous Fijians.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, who is also the minister for Fijian Affairs says he wants indigenous institutions to understand the recommendations before they endorse the changes.

The cost of implementing the changes is estimated at 20 million US dollars.