3 Oct 2003

Fiji's closed NGOs to re-open soon

11:17 am on 3 October 2003

Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Social Welfare, Rishi Ram, says the five disability services forced to close by funding delays should re-open as early as today.

The offices of several NGOs, including the United Blind People of Fiji, and the Association for the Deaf, have been forced to close because the government funding allocated to them for this year hasn't been paid.

Mr Ram says he has spoken with the Finance Minister and says he is confident that the funding will now be available to the NGOs by early next week at the latest.

He says he was surprised that the NGOs had had to close.

"I don't know what kind of demand was placed with them from the landlord, but we have been telling them the money is forthcoming and it should be with them soon. I mean, we haven't stopped the grant or anything like that. it is just that the processing was delayed and that is why the money didn't reach them in time."

Permanent Secretary for Social Welfare, Rishi Ram.

A local company is reported to have given the group of NGOs 6 thousand US dollars for the next years rent.