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By TALEBULA KATE
Government, as part of its renewed commitment to the social protection of older persons, is introducing the Social Pension Scheme (SPS) in 2013.
The President and member of the Senior Citizens group, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau made the comment at the official launching of the National Awareness on Government’s 2013 Initiatives for Older Persons in Fiji at the Senior Citizens Park, Thurston Gardens in Suva.
The scheme is targeted at older persons above the age of seventy years who have no source of income or are not beneficiaries of any superannuation payments such as the Fiji National Provident Fund, Ex- Serviceman or After Care Funds, Government Pension or Insurance.
The intent of this awareness is to provide senior citizens with a preview of what is in store for older persons in 2013 and Government has also endorsed the 2012 decree on the “National Council of Older Persons”.
“In my capacity as the President of the Republic of Fiji and as a member of the senior citizens, I am pleased to note that the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to address ageing issues in Fiji, through the recently endorsed National Ageing Policy of 2011-2015,” Ratu Epeli said.
“The framework has four goals that are aimed at promoting the theme of, quote: “promoting an inclusive, protective, healthy and supportive environment for older persons.” unquote.”
Ratu Epeli said the decree will allow the Government to establish an advisory body to represent the best interests of older persons in Fiji.
The Ministry of Social Welfare can be contacted on the details of the new scheme. Ongoing programs for the older persons include the bus fare and taxi fare concessions. Older persons of 60 years of age and above are entitled to 50 per cent discount on buses by the Fiji Bus Operators Association .
Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni, the new programme will provide for senior citizens information on Social Pension Scheme, free health screening, 20 per cent discount on taxi fare on every 20 kilometres they travel and 50 per cent discount on their bus fare.