THERE will be an increase in the social pension paid monthly by the government to senior citizens from next year.
An Information Ministry statement yesterday said the government had approved an increase in the monthly social pension currently paid to 9675 senior citizens.
The recipients of the social pension are 70 years and older, who do not have any form of income or pension or who have never been part of a superannuation scheme.
The Social Pension Scheme has a budgetary allocation of $3.2 million for this year.
Social Welfare Minister Dr Jiko Luveni said the increase was based on the requests of senior citizens through her discussions with communities in rural areas.
Dr Luveni said the pensioners had requested if the monthly $30 pension could be increased to $50, and it was put to the Cabinet.
"I am delighted to inform that Cabinet has approved the increase in Social Pension Scheme for the senior citizens from $30 to $50 a month," she said in the statement.
"So from next year, those who qualify for the social pension will receive $50 a month and currently there are more than 9000 beneficiaries and we expect this number to increase next year.
"The ministry has noted the increase in its program coverage from four per cent to now 12 to 14 per cent of the population benefiting from government's social welfare programs," said Dr Luveni.