How does Khaiyum justify giving away $20m across the board in what he calls “aid” to all families listed on the Social Welfare Scheme regardless of whether they are victims of cyclone Winston or not?
We all know government has limited resources. Its first priority, therefore, should be to assist the actual victims of the cyclone – those whose homes have been destroyed or partially damaged, families who have lost their entire belongings, or have crops and livestock damaged or ruined by the cyclone.
These are people who should get priority in any assistance from the government. Many of them are still waiting for government officials to even visit them.
FLP has called for cash grants of $1000 per family to be given to actual victims of the cyclone. Most of them have to start from scratch and rebuild their lives. They are the ones who urgently need cash.
What then is Khaiyum’s rationale in doling out money lump sum to people who may not even be affected by the cyclone?
There should be a standard formula for all cyclone assistance. It should all go through the National Disaster Management Office with assistance given out on a needs basis.
Khaiyum has announced a $600 (for 3 months) payout to 23,035 families listed under its Poverty Benefit Scheme, many of whom are from the Central Division and may not have been affected by the cyclone.
He is also topping up payment to those under the pensioners scheme with $100 a month ($300 lump sum payout). Would it not be appropriate and fair for those affected by the Cyclone in the Social Welfare listing to access assistance provided by DISMAC?
Such blanket topping up schemes show irresponsible disbursement of funds at a time when there are people genuinely in need of cash who should be assisted first.
It makes good headlines but little or no social or economic sense! Get off this publicity seeking mentality Khaiyum and learn to spend the tax dollars prudently. Incidentally, what are you doing on Rosy’s turf? Isn’t she the Minister for Social Welfare?
Secondly, government should scrap the annual $9million handout for the Fiji International Golf Tournament for this year and use the funds, instead, to provide cyclone assistance relief.
Fiji Rugby has already announced that it will not be seeking government assistance to participate in Olympics 2016. We expect golf to make a similar sacrifice. Since the tournament is said to benefit the Tourism Industry, it can fork out the sponsorship money from its marketing budget.