2018-2019 National Budget: Cavei hopeful for increase in welfare assistance

84-year-old Taito Cavei (left) and his wife Selai Mati work on their fishing nets at their home at Tamavua-i-wai settlement in Suva. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

FOR seven years, 84-year-old Taito Cavei has had to survive on a $100-a-month social welfare assistance.

But he said with the high cost of living for people such as him today, $100 would only last him and his wife a week.

And with the 2018/2019 National Budget to be announced later tonight, Mr Cavei was optimistic that this would help ease the struggles they went through daily as a couple.

“That $100 could last us only a week and we have to find other means of survival like fishing before the next payment is deposited into my account,” he said.

“From that $100 I get every month, $50 is food voucher while the other $50 is cash, that alone is still less for a family to survive on especially for elderly people like me who are not fit to go to work or do hard job and earn for our families. “I am also looking after my grandchildren and it has been really hard for me and my wife. “My humble request is for the Government in this budget to think of us and just increase the assistance we are receiving a little bit more,” Mr Cavei said.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation was allocated $113.4 million for the 2017/2018 financial year.

The allocation for the social pension scheme — a scheme targeting persons aged 65 years and over who do not have any form of income or have never been beneficiaries of a superannuation scheme — was increased by $23.2m in the 2017/2018 budget.

This catered for the increase in the monthly allowance for the recipients from $50 to $100.

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