Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa says they reduced the Social Welfare Bus Assistance to $10 a month simply because COVID-19 has affected the country in such a way that they had never imagined and every sector of the economy had to be considered during the 2020/2021 National Budget.
Vuniwaqa says government assists around 82,600 elderly persons under the bus fare assistance, where an average usage for a month is about 52,000.
She says this means around 30,000 elderly citizens who have a card do not use it.
Vuniwaqa says people need to remember that the government also assists the elderly through the Social Pension Scheme and for this year they are looking at $53.5 million for social pension alone.
She says at a time like this the government understands that the livelihoods of the pensioners is very critical and will not touch their pension.
Vuniwaqa adds this is a balancing act where most of the people who are under the bus fare scheme are also part of the pension scheme.
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