Participants at the Asset Management symposium at Novotel, Nadi.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council Mr Winston Thompson officially opened a symposium on Public Financial Management organised by USP’s Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration (PICPA) at Novotel in Nadi from 30 to 31 May 2016, which was a huge success.
Mr Thompson was pleased to see the level of participation from public officials from Fiji and Pacific island countries including representatives of various development partners.
He said in the economic and financial context, asset management has two general definitions – one relates to the advisory services where an advisor or financial services company are engaged to provide a range of professional services to manage and coordinate a client’s financial portfolio.
Mr Thompson said the other definition which is more relevant in the context of the symposium describes it as a process of organising, planning, acquiring, disposing off or the care and maintenance of assets using a whole-of-life-cycle approach.
“As public officials, it is this latter definition, which is more applicable in our day–to-day work,” he noted.
Director PICPA Parmesh Chand said the symposium, which focused on issues, challenges and opportunities on Asset Management, was well attended by 20 delegates representing 13 Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and New Zealand.
There was also excellent representation from partner organisations like the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI), Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (PRIF), and Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC) including USP.
As well, there was an excellent range of resource personnel drawn from industry locally and abroad who provided resource inputs at the symposium.
Mr Chand said the objectives of the symposium were fully accomplished.
“The objectives were to provide an avenue where relevant senior officials involved in asset management in the PICs have an opportunity to share experiences, hear from experts and learn international best practices in public sector asset management,” he noted.
Following comprehensive discussions and a well-coordinated exchange of information and views, it was agreed by participants of the symposium that there be continued emphasis on human resource capacity development for those involved in asset management.
“It was also agreed that there be a stock take of the extent of current work being undertaken by PICs in the field and such information be shared amongst all stakeholders,” Mr Chand said.
Participants also requested PICPA to consider the possibility of running a post graduate level course for public servants in Asset Management, in collaboration with USP and that a follow-up symposium be convened in 2017.
PICPA was also requested to set up a special Interest Group drawn from within the region on public sector asset management, with the primary objective of facilitating implementation of actions arising from the symposium and initiating further capacity building programmes for relevant public sector officials.
Funding for the event was provided by the Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
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