8 May 2013

Labour leader has distorted facts, says Fiji's Social Welfare Minister

9:05 am on 8 May 2013

Fiji's Minister for Social Welfare, Dr Jiko Luveni, has accused the Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry of distorting the facts over payments to Fiji's poor.

She says under new social welfare programmes, ten percent of Fiji's poor will get financial help, up from three percent under the old Family Assistance Programme.

Mr Chaudhry had earlier said the guillotine had gone down on assistance, sentencing people to extreme hardship and indignity.

Dr Luveni says the 19 thousand people receiving help under the old scheme would be reassessed and graduated from the programme if it was found they could support their families.

She says the government wanted to stop people cheating the system.

The government says the new Poverty Benefit Scheme will assist up to 13,000 households with a maximum payment of 84 US dollars per month.

It says the new social pension scheme would give 9000 elderly nearly 17 US dollars a month and there are also other schemes in place including allowances for needy children and subsidised bus fares.