27 Apr 2005

Five thousand sign petition to help the poor in Fiji

1:11 pm on 27 April 2005

More than 5,000 people in Fiji have signed a petition from an NGO supporting its fight against poverty.

The Daily Post reports that the campaign is being run by the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy, ECREA.

Its community project coordinator, Semiti Qalawasa, says the campaign is directed at the rising cost of basic food items like rice, flour and milk.

Mr Qalawasa says the cost of basic food is extraordinarily high in Fiji and the poor, who number 35% of the population, are the worst hit.

As well, he says they want the removal of the government's 12 and a half percent Value Added Tax from food items, payment of just and fair wages and a cost of living payment for all workers.

Mr Qalawasa says the campaign is part of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.

He says they want to gather at least 10,000 signatures on their petition before they present it to the minister for poverty alleviation, Adi Asenaca Caucau.