SPEECH: HON. PRIME MINISTER JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA AT THE FENC FIJI WALKATHON

Bula vinaka and a good morning

Today is FENC Day. It is marked by Walkathons in Nasinu, Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Labasa, Savusavu and, here in Suva to raise funds for the Foundation for the Education of Needy Children or FENC.

FENC is a non-profit organization. It was set up, in late 2009 under the auspices of the Bainimarama Government which provided it the seed funding and since then has made an annual budget contribution of $200,000.

The main purpose of FENC is to assist disadvantaged children to have access to education. Times of course have changed since 2009. For the past two years, my Government has not only been providing fee free education but free text books, subsidized bus fares, and free milk and weetbix and also contributes to capital development projects in schools.

This obviously has meant FENC has had to change its focus in the education assistance sector. FENC now is focussed on providing assistance by way of uniforms, footwear, stationery, food and other forms of education related assistance.

FENC of course as with the policy of my government, has to give assistance based on a transparent means test and on merit.

I therefore appeal to individuals and the corporate sector to contribute to FENC. It will give the business houses and the privileged to exercise social responsibility and further philanthropic activities. It should be noted that the FijiFirst Government provides tax exemptions for donors to FENC.

Today, in eight centers across the country, the Ministry of Health personnel are also present and here in Suva the Police Jazz Band will entertain us. So, it’s a day that we take steps to make our people to be a bit more health conscious, have some fun and, most importantly, help educate those in need.

I wish everyone an enjoyable morning as you walk or run.

Vinaka vakalevu, Thank you.