19 Apr 2024

Pacific news in brief for April 19

1:37 pm on 19 April 2024
Empty wallet in the hands of man. Broke ,bankrupt concept.

Photo: 123RF

Papua New Guinea - loans

Papua New Guinea's Minister of Public Service, Joseph Sungi, says 70 percent of the public sector workforce is heavily indebted to loan sharks.

According to The National newspaper, the minister said more than 94,000 workers are beholden to fast-money loan schemes.

Sungi said many debtors end up paying double the amounts borrowed, due to the high interest rates charged.

The minister is now amending the Public Sector Management Act to control the size of loans the workers undertake.

It will allow public servants to only borrow amounts up to 50 percent of their salaries.

Vanuatu - referendum

Voter registration ahead of Vanuatu's first ever referendum closed on Wednesday.

On 29 May, the people of Vanuatu will be asked to vote on a referendum that aims to overcome the country's persistent political instability.

The Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs has sponsored a 'vote no' campaign in Port Vila.

Meanwhile, there is growing criticism around the short timeframe to conduct public awareness campaigns ahead of the referendum.

Fiji - curriculum

A national curriculum review is underway in Fiji to identify gaps in the country's education system.

Fiji's Minister for Education, Viliame Gavoka, told Parliament education reforms - implemented by the former Bainimarama government - are ineffective.

Govoka said changes like the introduction of new subjects, such as life maths, are not crucial to outcomes, and are a burden to education officials.

He also expressed concerns about the under-representation of iTaukei graduates in information technology, maths, accounting, and physics.


Samoa's District Court has issued a warrant of arrest for the former head of the Samoa Triathlon Federation for failing to appear in court.

Seti Afoa is charged with obtaining by deception and attempting to obtain by deception, in a private prosecution launched by athletes of the Triathlon Federation.

The Samoa Observer reported the allegations are related to money provided by the international federation that was not put into the sporting body's accounts.

Samoa - environment

Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has launched a new environmental campaign.

Samoa CARES stands for 'climate action, resilience and enhancement of Samoa', and aims to educate people about better environmental practices.

Minister Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster said there are two main components - a media explainer campaign, and a venture with a Peace Corps teacher volunteer programme taking education into schools.

"Samoa is a beautiful island country. We take great pride in our land and culture," he said.

"But this ever-changing world is dstroying our home and paradise, and it's time to take responsibility in protecting and safeguarding our environment."

Toeolesulusulu said the primary focus during the initial phase is to stop littering.

He said addressing littering requires actions and solutions that promote responsible behaviour.


The Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will mark ANZAC Day next week while in Papua New Guinea, attending the dawn service at the Isurava memorial site on the Kokoda Track.

The Post-Courier reported the Albanese visit will not be an official state trip, but will be given full respect and honour, according to foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko.

Albanese and his PNG counterpart, James Marape, will walk part of the historic track to honour the fallen soldiers of World War II.

The Kokoda campaign was a pivotal battle in the Pacific theatre, with the Allied forces stopping the Japanese from reaching Port Moresby.

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