$90 cash payout for those in genuine need: Minister for Economy

Fijian Government’s newly announced $90 cash payout scheme will be paid to households in genuine need, within and outside containment areas, and warns that it has verification measures to guard against people looking to abuse the system.

The measures Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says not only protects against double dipping but also ensure accountability and sustainability to be able to cater for deserving Fijians in the event that more positive COVID19 cases arise and subsequent health protocols require extended periods of lockdown or other parts of Fiji needing to go on lockdown.

To register, eligible beneficiaries will be required to text their names, their addresses, number of people in their households, their FNPF number if they have one and bank account details (only if they prefer the bank as the means to receive their cash), via numbers that are expected to be finalised today. Emails may be accepted too. Disbursement of funds will be done via Vodafone’s MPaisa platform, Digicel’s My Cash platform and bank accounts for those who wish.

“We prefer people to text if you text, you actually get a much faster response rate, much faster disbursement into your MPaisa or your my-cash account,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“So this particular benefit that we will be giving to those needy families or households will be for those who currently do not get unemployment benefits, will be for those who cannot actually go to work, either because the business or the occupation that they have is not operational. So, one classic point, of course, is somebody who is working as a hairdresser or the hairdressing business. There may be some people are working as waiters and waitresses, because the restaurants may not be running at full capacity. They of course won’t be able to get access to wages and salaries. If they do not have FNPF if they cannot access their FNPF account because they don’t actually have an active fnpf, then they will be entitled to this particular benefit.

“We have also catered for those people who are outside that contained areas, but actually cannot go to work because Ministry of Health has specifically said that those businesses occupations cannot actually operate those people cannot actually carry out the trade. So, for example, the hairdresser in Sigatoka cannot go to work, because the salons are closed. And that can also be the same for a person in Tavua or Ba or wherever else, even Labasa.

“So those people would also be entitled to that and they have to be specifically from those occupations. We have already done an assessment through the various municipalities as to how many barbershops, they are in each town. You all need a license to know exactly what, what number of businesses, they are so at least we can keep a tab, in respect of there being no particular abuse.

“There of course are some people who are receiving the FNPF unemployment benefits so by you texting, we’ll also be able to verify whether you are actually receiving unemployment benefits or not as we know there are people who have been known to double-dip.

“As the Permanent Secretary for Health has highlighted. We do not know actually what can happen in respect to some of the results that may come up so there a longer period of lockdown or other parts of Fiji that may need to go on lockdown, we have to ensure that we have a sustainable policy in place to be able to cater for all Fijians who actually deserve to be assisted.”

Minister for Economy and AG Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

The $90 allocation was calculated based on the value of groceries handed out during the Suva-Nausori snap lockdown last weekend which was valued at around $43 a pack, packaging and cartage costs included. ..

Sayed-Khaiyum urges beneficiaries to use the assistance wisely.

The registration is expected to be rolled out tomorrow by containment zones, starting with Nadi.

Meanwhile, eligible persons who reside in communities that have been ordered to stay put because of health protocols, are being assisted by the Ministry of Health.

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