Minister calls on youths to be part of consultations

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Minister for Local Government and Housing, Maciu Nalumisa. Picture: FIJI GOVERNMENT

Local Government Minister Maciu Nalumisa has called on youths and those living within municipality boundaries to actively participate in the upcoming local government election consultations that will begin from September 25 at the Suva Civic Centre Lower Hall.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Mr Nalumisa said the ministry wanted everyone, especially youths, to participate in the consultation process.

“We will also be doing an awareness after we’ve done the consultations, there will be an awareness to be done by the Fijian Elections Office (FEO), in consultation with the ministry to reach out to everyone who are interested in the selection, and we also hope to engage the youths in the process,” Mr Nalumisa said.

“I think this is an opportune time for our young voters out there, because I’ve just said that we’re trying to align the voting age to the age of 18, to be in line with the national voting age, and it’s an opportune time for young voters out there to come forward, be part of the process.

“We want you to be engaged in the communities, in the municipalities that you’re in, we want you to come forward to be part of the process.

“Your views will be considered. That’s the message that we want to encourage voters, please come forward and express your views orally or verbally to all the working groups that will be holding the consultations shortly.”

He said the local government election stood as a beacon of hope for communities, representing the potential for significant positive change.

“We recognise that the decision made at local level have a direct impact on the daily lives of our citizens and it’s our duty to ensure that their voices are heard, and their needs addressed.

“It is our firm belief that the power to choose representatives in the council should be vested in the hands of the very individuals who decide in these areas. It allows the residents to elect leaders who understand the unique needs and challenges of the local areas because they are part of those communities.

“It is not just a democratic exercise, but an opportunity to enhance the livelihoods for people and drive economic development in the grassroots level.”

Mr Nalumisa said the much-anticipated local government election would happen during the first quarter of the 2024/2025 financial year.

He said this would pave the way for a brighter future where the voices of people were heard, their needs addressed, and aspirations realised.