Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad addressed the pressing issue of termite infestation in the Western Division, particularly in Lautoka and parts of Ba and announced Government assistance yesterday.
Accompanied by Assistant Ministers Sakiusa Tubuna and Sashi Kiran, Prof Prasad recognized the severity of the problem and highlighted that the Coalition Government has allocated $3 million in the last budget to address the termite crisis and provide immediate assistance to affected families.
He expressed concern for the distress and pain caused to families dealing with the destruction of their homes due to termite infestations and said to combat this issue, a special task force has been established, chaired by Assistant Minister Tubuna and co-chaired by Assistant Minister Kiran.
Tubuna announced crucial Government assistance programs designed to support these affected communities.
He said first part of the aid includes subsidised bait provision for those who register with the Lautoka City Council and the Ministry of Regional Development.
The second part involves targeted relief, providing $5,000 for individuals with an income below $30,000 and $2,000 for those with an income above $30,000 to $50,000.
Kiran emphasised the importance of registering homes for assessment, as it allows for a strategic and efficient baiting program
She highlighted that termites live underground, making the baiting program crucial to eliminate colonies effectively.
The registration process, also available through DO’s offices in Ba, Lautoka, and Nadi, will help identify the number of affected houses in specific areas, allowing for coordinated baiting efforts.
To ensure support reaches those in need, the Government will prioritise individuals below the poverty line.
The baiting costs will be covered, and financial assistance will be provided to help repair damages, particularly focusing on soft timber components such as doors, ceilings, and walls.
Kiran also announced plans to extend the registration process to Labasa, broadening the Government’s efforts to control termite populations across various regions.
The Government urges all affected individuals to register promptly to avail themselves of the support and assistance programs in place.