Close to 50,000 people would be assisted through Government’s Poverty Benefit Scheme, says the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
The scheme replaces the Family Assistance Program and would expand the coverage of social welfare assistance provided to the poor population.
“Under the Poverty Benefit Scheme a maximum of four persons in a household will be assisted with a maximum of $150 monthly allowance, which is inclusive of the $30 food voucher, unlike in the Family Assistance Program which was category based (elderly, chronically ill and permanently disabled),” Dr Luveni said.
“As per the review it was shown that assistance was exclusive to these three categories and there were some poor people who couldn’t be assisted simply because they didn’t fall in these categories.”
“With the older system we were assisting only 21,000 people, however through the Poverty Benefit Scheme we can assist 50 to 52,000 people,” Dr Luveni added.
“The scheme will increase coverage of Fiji’s poor population from three per cent under the previous system, to 10 per cent under the new system,” Dr Luveni said.
The second major programme for social welfare ministry is the Social Pension Scheme for senior citizens who are 70 years and above, who are not receiving any form of superannuation funds.
“The Social Pension Scheme is reflection of Government’s commitment to provide an inclusive and enabling environment for the elderly in the country. Cabinet has endorsed Fiji’s Ageing Policy that promotes an inclusive and enabling environment for the senior citizens,” Dr Luveni said
“There are more than 5000 senior citizens who would benefit from the Social Pension Scheme.”