Prerequisite for assistance queried

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Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu delivers his statement in Parliament yesterday. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI

Vaccination should not be a prerequisite or condition for any assistance to be provided by Government.

This was the view expressed by Opposition Leader Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu during debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament yesterday.

He said after reviewing the budget announcement, he realised the rationale behind Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum focusing his address on the importance of vaccination was because of its strong correlation with allowing people to access assistance.

“We are of the strong view that it is unethical and morally wrong for Government to use vaccination as a precondition for our citizens to have access to any assistance,” Ratu Naiqama said.

“The Government has the responsibility to provide the necessary support and assistance across the board rather than making vaccination a precondition.

“Most of the direct financial support or assistance to those who need them are subject to vaccination first – ‘No jab, no unemployment benefit’.”

Ratu Naiqama said as a traditional leader, he has called on the people of Cakaudrove and all citizens to be vaccinated.

“Again, we plead with the members of the public to consider vaccination very very seriously.”