Government Initiatives to Support Vulnerable Populace Revealed

The government affirms its commitment to supporting the vulnerable population, including the poor, children, and the disabled. This assurance was made by Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection, Lynda Tabuya, during her response to the 2024-2025 National Budget.

Minister Tabuya stated that the government would continue to prioritize support services for Fiji’s most vulnerable. She mentioned that additional support for those in genuine need would be provided on a case-by-case basis.

Minister Tabuya highlighted the Transport Assistance Scheme, previously known as the Bus Fare Assistance Scheme, which has been aiding approximately 48,000 beneficiaries. The scheme has a budget allocation of $13.4 million to subsidize travel costs for older persons over 70 and individuals with disabilities. Beneficiaries receive $25 in cash per month for transport assistance.

The government has also proposed the establishment of a Child Well-being Centre, pending consultation with relevant ministries and Cabinet approval. This center aims to assist at-risk children, including those facing addiction or trauma, such as street children, by providing rehabilitation, training, and integration back into society. A budget of $250,000 has been allocated for renovating the Vunirewa Bible School in Serua, which was donated by the Methodist Church of Fiji for this purpose.

Additionally, $200,000 has been allocated to the Welfare Graduation Programme. This initiative aims to enhance the skills of beneficiaries through training programs and link them to suitable and dignified employment opportunities, enabling them to start jobs or find employment.

Minister Tabuya also announced that the Child Care and Protection Bill and the Child Justice Bill are currently in the legislative consultation process.

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