Fiji Labour Party (FLP) leader Mahendra Chaudhry says a Labour government will increase the social welfare food voucher for senior citizens from the current $50 and $100 to $200 per person if they win the 2022 General Election.
He made that promise while responding to questions raised by residents of Muanikoso Village on Monday night.
A resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity asked Mr Chaudhry if his government would increase social welfare benefits for the people.
“Regarding the $50 food voucher which senior citizens get, will you raise it,” she asked.
“Because $50 when you take the groceries to the cashier is not enough for a month.”
The FLP leader claimed they would raise the allowance to $200.
“We will replace the food voucher and give you $200,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Market vendor Elma Wati said if the allowance was increased she wouldn’t have to travel to the market to earn extra income.
“I appreciate the government for what they give now but food prices are so expensive and an increase would be helpful,” the 70-year-old said.
She also said the $75 bus fare allowance for three months did not go far given the increased bus fares.
Another market vendor, Deo Sharan, 74, echoed similar sentiments, saying an increase in monthly allowance would be appreciated.
Mr Chaudhry told the Muanikoso residents that social welfare payments would not be needed if there was economic growth which led to better socio-economic standards.
“But all these we won’t need if there are enough jobs for our people.”
“If we grow the economy and create jobs, many people won’t need welfare because they have got full time jobs. We want to remove the root cause of poverty.”