SODELPA has plans to tackle poverty – Gavoka

SODELPA leader Viliame Gavoka. Picture: FT FILE

The Social Democratic Liberal Party has formulated a plan to address Fijians living in poverty by providing food vouchers for those who cannot afford it and free medical care for those who cannot provide for their basic needs, says leader Viliame Gavoka.

He made the comment in response to stories in The Fiji Times yesterday where Fiji Council of Social Services executive director Vani Catanasiga highlighted that children were scavenging for scrap metal in dump sites and selling food at night to help put food on their families tables.

“Most of our people in Fiji are suffering from the financial mismanagement and excessive spending that has created the record debt crisis in Fiji and struggling economy,” Mr Gavoka said.

“Government programs do not sufficiently look after the poor and vulnerable amongst us and that number of ‘absolute poor’ has grown to unprecedented levels.”

He said SODELPA had formulated policies based on data provided by the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) 2019/2020 conducted by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, which showed that 29.9 per cent lived below the poverty line before the pandemic.

“Today there are 140,000 social welfare recipients and 189,000 COVID-19 FNPF recipients.

“Absolute poverty is the inability to afford basic needs.

“The average weekly earnings are $47.17 for our majority who live well below the poverty line.

“This is a tragic and unprecedented reality that a SODELPA government will have to deal with.”

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