Regional postal hub opens in Fiji

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UPU director general Masahiko Metoki (fi fth from right) with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Viliame Gavoka (fourth from right), Post Fiji staff, board and management and attendees of the welcoming ceremony. Picture: AISHA AZEEMAH

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) will, as of today, have a sub-regional office in Suva.

This office will be the link bet­ween UPU and the Pacific, strengthening the collective Pacific voice in all future UPU matters.

UPU director general Masahiko Metoki, who is in Fiji for the office’s opening event, was welcomed by Post Fiji in a traditional ceremony held at the Grand Pacific Hotel yesterday.

“This office will help us try to get information from closer to the field,” he said.

“The office for the Asia-Pacific region is in Bangkok, Thailand. And now there will be one even closer for new fresh information from the Pacific countries.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Viliame Gavoka said: “With the opening of the Universal Postal Union’s sub-regional office in Fiji, the Fiji Government anticipates greater technical support, including capacity building and development, to postal operations in Pacific Island countries.

“Fiji is the hub of the Pacific. We are the hub of transport, hub of trade, hub of tourism and the hub of development. And we will continue to advance our strategic positioning for the betterment of the Pacific peoples .”

Post Fiji chief executive officer Dr Anirudha Bansod said the organisation had been pushing for a Pacific hub to be established in Fiji for the past two years.

“There are a lot of benefits to having a regional office because UPU, in co-ordination with the APPU (Asia-Pacific Postal Union) run a lot of programs like grants and fellowships and this office gives us better access.

“Having a regional office in Fiji demonstrates the abilities of Fiji and the Post Fiji. This is helpful not just to Fiji but to the whole Pacific region,” he said.

“We have similar challenges, same needs, same wants, and this will help allow us to collectively put those wants and needs forward to the UPU so the UPU can provide us with the necessary technical assistance, resources and the fellowship.”

Director general Metoki and Post Fiji will also be in attendance for a regional postal transport workshop in Nadi later this week.