Hope for increase in social allowances

Wheelchair bound 61 year old Akanisi Latu at her Valelevu Hart home yesterday. Picture: RAMA

AS Fijians look forward to the announcement of the 2019/2020 National Budget tonight, a woman living with disability is hoping she will see an increase in the monthly allowance she receives from Government.

Akanisi Latu lives at the Valelevu HART Community in Nasinu. In a month, the 61-year-old gets $50 food voucher and $60 allowance from the Social Welfare Department — something she said was not enough to survive for a month because of what she claimed were “increasing food prices”.

Ms Latu claimed some people living with disability had resorted to begging along the streets because of this.

She said most people living with disability were unemployed and depended heavily on Government’s assistance.

“Some of us disabled people, they are in town begging and it would be good to see this Government increase our allowance in the budget,” she said.

“Life is really expensive.

“For that $50 alone, I will just shop for a few items and that’s it, sometimes it (cost of goods) exceeds and I have to fork out extra money for that.”

Ms Latu counts herself lucky because she lives alone and there is no one else to feed.

“Some of us in this HART have big families and for me I am lucky because I am the only one, but then it is still expensive.”

Ms Latu pays $5.50 for weekly rent.

She makes necklaces and bakes pastries if she runs short of cash.

“I make necklaces and I sell it to get me through.

Sometimes I would call my friends and bake for them and that helps me a lot.”

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will deliver the 2019/2020 National Budget at 7.30pm.

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