Ministry and Post Fiji to discuss welfare assistance for maritime island

Recipients waiting outside the Lomaloma Post Office on Monday, August 6, 2018. Picture: ANTHONY SAHAI/Facebook

THE Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation will be contacting Post Fiji in regards to Social Welfare allowances not being received on time by close to 50 recipients on the island on Vanua Balavu in the Lau group.

The issue came to light via social media this week of recipients who did not receive their welfare assistance from August 1, 2018, because the Lomolomo Post Office had ran out of cash.

Social Welfare assistance recipients receive a monthly allowance of $100 each.

Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta says they will take immediate action to try and resolve this issue.

“From our side, we will ensure this is not repeated and people do not have to go through this again. We will raise the issue with Post Fiji,” Dr Koroivueta said.

Post Fiji’s Head of retail and marketing Isaac Mow says this is an ongoing issue and because of transportation issues, it is “hard to be resolved”.

“There is only one flight to the island and that’s on Wednesdays. So if a large sum is withdrawn on a Thursday, the postmaster sends a request for more cash but they will only receive that the following Wednesday,” Mr Mow said.

“There are farmers and fishermen on the island who supply in large amounts to the middleman on main land. So if the middleman sends those payments and they withdraw, the Post Fiji outlet is left with hardly anything.

“We cannot send big amounts of money too as we have a cash reserve holding system. There have been situations in the past when our branches have been robbed and for safety purposes, we cannot keep a lot of cash at once.”

The Fiji Times contacted the Postmaster of the Lomolomo Post Office who confirmed that the recipients got their money today.

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