All boards chosen on ‘merit’ – Chand

Ministry for Public Service and Public Enterprises permanent secretary Parmesh Chand at a recent Corporate Governance Workshop held at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay. Picture: FT FILE

The Ministry of Public Enterprise maintains that board appointments will be merit based.

Ministry permanent secretary Parmesh Chand made this statement while responding to Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) chairperson Makereta Waqavonovono’s statement on women’s participation on State boards and commissions.

Ms Waqavonovono had expressed concerns that the percentage of participation had slightly worsened despite the promises by the Coalition Government on promoting women’s rights.

While acknowledging the findings of FWRM, Mr Chand said merit-based appointments would not be compromised.

However, he encouraged companies to facilitate the advancement of women and set a target for a certain percentage of women representation.

He said that more needed to be done to ensure women were appointed and that the line ministry recognised there was still a long way to go before Fiji fully achieved gender diversity.

“It is just that we don’t get many responses,” Mr Chand said.

“We will need to put more emphasis on building a database of eligible females on an ongoing basis.

“We will develop a comprehensive database of potential women directors and leaders which will go a long way in improving female representation on boards and committees.

“In this regard, we will need to work closely together with the relevant stakeholders and share information on an ongoing basis.”

He said boards were encouraged to consider solutions like setting voluntary targets that could boost appointment of women.

“The Ministry of Public Enterprise is aware that many countries have legislated boardroom quotas for their largest, publicly listed companies, and boards are encouraged to look at ways Fiji can achieve the same through introduced corporate governance codes or legislation.”

More Stories