4 Jan 2010

Fiji bus voucher scheme raises concerns

3:39 pm on 4 January 2010

The Fiji non-government organisation Femlink Pacific is concerned some families may have trouble redeeming free school bus vouchers despite being eligible.

About 71,000 children will qualify for the government's free bus fare scheme.

The Fiji Times reports that only students whose parents' collective salaries were less than 8,000 US dollars will receive the assistance but must provide proof of their income.

The Coordinator of Femlink Pacific, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, says it's a practical idea that works for single income families and those in formal employment, but says it may be hard for others.

"The concern is mostly for those mothers or those families in the rural communities. And more importantly in the rural communities those are farmers or casual labourers because they don't actually have the formal pay slips. They rely on payments as and when the agricultural system works."

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls says she hopes there's some flexibility and understanding in the system for families who aren't in formal employment or don't have bank accounts.