[Photo Credit: Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management/Facebook]
The Government is putting in the hard yards to address the development gap that exists between the rural and urban centres in the Central Division.
Commissioner Central, Josefo Navuku says they noted that 38 areas are without access to roads, 63 communication blackspot areas, 144 areas are without safe drinking water, and 46 locations are without power supply.
Navuku adds the division which comprises five provinces and at least 40 percent of Fiji’s total population, is also pressured by the inadequate status of basic services, particularly in the peri-urban and urban centres.
“We have a tricky situation where we deal with rural-rural and also those staying in peri-urban areas. So you will understand the range of basic needs that we will need to be dealing with.”
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, while speaking during the iTaukei Affairs Nai Lalakai program says these pressing issues which were also raised during provincial council meetings have been factored into the operational costs in this new financial year.
“We will continue to hear the needs on the ground. This includes the construction of new roads, infrastructure upgrades, education, improving the health system, and rural electrification project among others.”
Navuku also stresses the need to improve internet connectivity in the rural part of the Division.
However, Bainimarama says Vodafone plans to invest at least $55 million to improve network and internet connectivity in the rural and maritime zones over the next few months.