The Fiji Labour Party says it is shocked by the statement from Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Sashi Kiran that “many” of the 96,000 recipients of the State’s social welfare allowance should not be getting it, while Kiran says many destitute are on a waiting list and not receiving social welfare support, some of those who don’t deserve this are on their list.
Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says Kiran was speaking at a National Federation Party meeting in Rakiraki last Sunday and says this is shocking coming from a person who largely based her election campaign on the desperate plight of women around the country, many of whom she stated were hard pressed to feed their families.
He says not only this, her party had campaigned big on the promise to increase social welfare allowances.
The former PM adds yet, three months after taking office, Kiran’s views appear to have changed drastically on the number of people living in poverty and in need of State assistance.
He says one may ask what has the coalition government done since January this year to alleviate poverty or make any marked changes to the lives of the “many women” who Kiran claimed were in destitution last October.
Chaudhry says just last week, Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad warned people on the inevitability of tax increases and now she is questioning the eligibility of many recipients on the welfare list, possibly with a view to removing them.
While responding to Chaudhry, Kiran says some recipients got their approval through political pressure from the senior executives in the past and not following guidelines.
Kiran says Chaudhry has his wires crossed and is playing politics with the lives of poor people.
She adds the coalition government is committed to alleviation of poverty and there is a World Bank and Australian Government supported Review currently underway to assess their social protection program to ensure those most in need deserve the care and priority they deserve.
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