22 Feb 2007

Fiji interim government says affirmative programme failed

5:21 pm on 22 February 2007

Fiji's interim minister for Fijian affairs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, is questioning why the indigenous people have not progressed despite the allocation of millions of dollars in affirmative action funds.

Ratu Epeli has told Radio Legend it is now time to look at the needs of people living below the poverty line and provide assistance accordingly.

He says he is not against affirmative action, but rather for affirmative action based on need rather than race.

He says current statistics show that of the rural indigenous population, 46% fall below the poverty line.

Ratu Epeli says the millions of dollars spent on affirmative action does not appear to have filtered down to those with real needs.

Meanwhile, the interim education minister, Netani Sukanaivalu, has revealed that 18,000 indigenous students missed out on the benefits of the deposed government's affirmative action policies because they attend Indian managed schools.