FIJI joined the rest of the world in marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty yesterday.
In his message, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the government had put in place various strategies to reduce and alleviate poverty.
This year's theme is Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace.
Commodore Bainimarama said the theme could not have come at a better time given that government promoted empowerment and building peace by encouraging Fijians to actively participate in the electoral process and formulate a new constitution and having a common identity.
"It must be understood that all reforms government is undertaking contribute one way or the other to poverty alleviation," he said.
Commodore Bainimarama said the government was taking a lead role in creating opportunities to empower the people of Fiji to take ownership and exercise their right to be heard which in turn reduced poverty.
He said reforms targeting the alleviation of poverty included the provision of targeted assistance to those on or below the poverty line such as the removal of unpaid water bills for over 100,000 Fijians amounting to $14 million and the write-off of over 170 individual home loan accounts valued at over $1.5 million as well as the write-off of Village Housing Scheme accounts amounting to about $1.2 million.
"My government will continue to implement changes that will benefit not just a few but everyone."
"I see these changes as addressing poverty as it will allow people to be part of the design of policies that affect the poor and vulnerable in our society."
Commodore Bainimarama stressed that the government was committed to achieving Millennium Development Goal one through its policy objective of 'reducing poverty to a negligible level by 2015'.