COVID-19: FRIEND founder praises Government’s cash roll-out initiative

District Officer Lautoka Yasawa Apisai Vularika (right) with Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND) director Sashi Kiran distribute food rations to the needy in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Founder and CEO of Foundation for Rural and Integrated Enterprises & Development (FRIEND) Sashi Kiran has praised the Government’s cash roll-out initiative to assist those desperately in need.

“The cash roll-out for the families dependent on the informal sector is a wonderful initiative and will place some cash in the hands of people who have not had any income for the past three weeks,” Ms Kiran said.

She said the $90 cash assistance would help many families pay their bills, purchase hygiene items and medicine for their families.

The money, however, was not enough for families at the bottom end of the income bracket.

“The $45 calculation done by the Ministry of Economy was based on wholesale prices and food per family for one weekend. We ask how will breadwinners feed their families during the lockdown that would last for weeks,” Ms Kiran said.

She added the Suva packs did not include sanitary and baby milk items, which would add to the bill for some needy families.

She also called for help in mobilising food rations for areas experiencing prolonged periods of lockdown.

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