MORE than 200 scholarship applications were turned down by the Ba Provincial Council this year because of lack of funds.
Council chairman Ratu Meli Saukuru said the council was hoping to assist students through the provincial levy funds. He said the plan was to divert $30,000 from the $190,000 expected in levy payment to education assistance.
However, the levy collection exercise fell way short of its target.
"At the moment we have refused all applications because we have only collected about $30,000 in levy," said Ratu Meli.
"We wanted to help these students but could not do so because of lack of funding.
"Over the past decades we had managed to send students for tertiary education through the proceeds received from land rent. This is not possible anymore as the laws on payment of land lease have changed.
"In fact, we were hoping to sponsor the students from the levy but most villagers have yet to pay their $10 subs."
Ratu Meli said funds from the old land rent distribution system was also used to pay six council staff. "We don't want to lay off these staff nor do we want to close some of our branches in Ba and Nadi. So we are urging villagers to pay up your subs please."
Meanwhile, he also revealed that the council would now hold only one provincial council meeting in a year because of the lack of funds.