A PENSION will be provided to Fijians aged 70 years and over who do not have any form of income from January next year.
This was revealed by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
Commodore Bainimarama said the initiative by the government was a first for Fiji.
He said 9000 Fijians who did not have any income, pension or had never been part of a superannuation scheme would benefit from this assistance.
"The budget for this program is $3.2million," Commodore Bainimarama said.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation has been tasked with the role of controlling this new pension project.
Minister of Women and Social Welfare Dr Jiko Luveni said the announcement for people above 70 years was exciting.
"It is an exciting program because it is available to anyone above 70 years and who is not receiving any form of income at all," Dr Luveni said.
She explained that those entitled for pensions should not be receiving any form of income even though they live with their families who support them.
"We need senior citizens to have money, we need to give them the confidence and to be happy and comfortable with their lives and contribute to their family welfare," Dr Luveni said.
Under Fiji's social welfare system, a household will receive a maximum of $150 per month including a $30 food voucher.
"Nearly 13,000 poor households will benefit and we will increase the coverage of our poor population from the current three per cent to 10 per cent. The total budget for this program is $22.7million," Commodore Bainimarama said.
He said the care and protection program, which targeted children, would continue with a budget of $5.9million.
"With an allocation next year of $500,000, the welfare graduation scheme focuses on moving recipients from welfare to workfare. Fiji cannot support a culture of dependency. We must commit ourselves to the idea that poverty is a temporary state," the Prime Minister said.