Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has confirmed that the Government’s policies for the people will remain in 2024 and where possible, they will increase payments to benefit Fijians in need.
“The Government is predicting that 2024 will be a big year for Fiji.”
“The economy is now in a much stronger position – it grew by a healthy 8.2 percent last year – wage rates are increasing, investor confidence is high, new jobs are being created.”
He said within the 2023/2024 budget period, the Government will spend over $1.2 billion for needy Fijians.
This includes write-offs of $650 million dollars for the TELS scheme benefitting 53,000 students and families. It is the first time this kind of financial relief has been granted in Fiji by any government.
“There are 90,000 beneficiaries of total social welfare payments of $160 million dollars. We increased some of these by 15 per cent and 25 per cent for those over 70.”
“Approximately 2,000 government pensioners received a 15 percent increase from funding of $37 million dollars.”
“The pension rates of many FNPF pensioners were illegally cut back by the former regime. We’ve acted to give some monthly relief to the surviving members of the aggrieved group while continuing dialogue with the FNPF with the aim of giving the victims full justice in 2024.”
“Allowances amounting to $15 million dollars for around 10,200 ex-servicemen went up by 15 per cent.”
“New back-to-school payments of $90 million dollars benefited about 223,000 children and their parents. This was also a first.”
“Full scholarships valued at $148 million dollars went to about 10,900 new students and 9,149 existing tertiary students. Again, this substantially assisted many families. So did an amount of $100 million dollars, allocated for free education and school transport assistance.”
“The Coalition Government reversed a policy by the last administration of withholding grants due to the University of the South Pacific.”
“We boosted the health budget to $545 million dollars in recognition of the desperate need for upgrading some hospitals and health centres. This is a work in progress.”
“I can report that based on information from the FNPF, wages and salaries for permanent and full-time employees increased between 10 to 12 per cent compared to 2019.”
The Prime Minister said this is a reflection of the marketplace at work.
However, the Government is not just relying on market forces to determine wages and salaries.
“As promised in the budget we will review minimum wages. You can expect some decisions in the next few months,” he stated.