FIJI MINISTER REFUTES UN ON POVERTY INITIATIVES

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Luveni notes $28 million allocated

By Nasik Swami UVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 28, 2011) – In Fiji, Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni has refuted a report issued by the United Nations Peak Development Agency stating that the country is not doing enough to alleviate the rise of poverty in the country.

Speaking to FijiLive, Dr Luveni said the United Nation has its own means of describing poverty rate, but the Fiji Government has allocated a lot of money and sustainability/ self sufficiency training programs for the poor to enhance the alleviation of poverty in Fiji.

"25 million dollars [US$14.2 million] has been allocated for the Food Voucher Scheme and over 40 million [US23 million] to 50 million dollars [US$28.4 million] has been allocated to the ministry to help alleviate poverty in the country." Dr Luveni said.

Dr Luveni said poverty alleviation is not only addressed by the ministry but all other Government ministries have come together to fight it.

She said reports have revealed that in Fiji, rural people live in poverty.

"Allocation of lands and providing the means of economic empowerment has been made possible in the country for the poor people." Dr Luveni said.

She said her ministry is going to the grassroots and empowering them how to generate income for themselves.

"The impact of our work won’t be immediate but it will for sure be seen in few years to come." she said.

When questioned whether Fiji is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty by the year 2015, Dr Luveni disagreed.

"I don’t think we will be able to meet the MDG by the year 2015 but we will try our best to reach there." she said.

She said due to the economic recession a lot of developing countries are struggling to meet their Millennium Development Goals.

She added that Fiji is making the effort to reach its MDG by the year 2015.

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