MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 4:00PM 09/03/13

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1.?WELFARE RECIPIENTS REMINDED TO COLLECT VOUCHERS-?The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is reminding all social welfare recipients to collect their monthly $30 food vouchers within 30 days of issue. Failure to do so will see their food voucher returned to headquarters.

 

2.?KADAVU RECIPIENTS TO ACCESS PAYMENTS ELECTRONICALLY-?There is good news for 283 social welfare recipients in Kadavu. They will now be able to access their monthly allowances in an efficient and timely manner.

 

3.?BEST PROGRAM TO ENHANCE TVET IN SCHOOLS-?The Ministry of Education is committed to raising the image of Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) through the National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) of the Fiji National University.

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1.?WELFARE RECIPIENTS REMINDED TO COLLECT VOUCHERS

The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is reminding all social welfare recipients to collect their monthly $30 food vouchers within 30 days of issue. Failure to do so will see their food voucher returned to headquarters.

And if not requested for by the district/division offices in the next two months, voucher books will be cancelled and allowances terminated.

The Ministry for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation acting permanent secretary, Dr Josefa Koroivueta said recipients who did not collected their vouchers on time, would have their payments ceased from April 2013.

He said monthly allowances for the respective recipients would be put on hold pending full verification and funds released once cases were reviewed.

Dr Koroivueta expressed concern that divisional and district offices have reported that for this year, a total of?1287 voucher booksremain uncollected for the period?January to March.

?The uncollected food vouchers will mean that while funds are committed, they are not being utilized against the cash flow that the ministry has for this allocation. Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) and government pensioners are required to be re-certified by submitting Pension Renewal Forms on a quarterly basis,? Dr Koroivueta said.

?Similarly, the ministry relies on collection of voucher books every three months as a form of recertification and verification. Uncollected voucher books will be cancelled and funds diverted to assist more needy clients in our pending list.

?While collecting their food vouchers, recipients must provide their identification cards and in case of third party transactions, evidence must be produced that primary recipient is still alive. ?Otherwise, food voucher will?not?be issued and allowance also will be put on hold,? Dr Koroivueta added.

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2.?KADAVU RECIPIENTS TO ACCESS PAYMENTS ELECTRONICALLY

There is good news for?283?social welfare recipients in Kadavu. They will now be able to access their monthly allowances in an efficient and timely manner.

This is possible through the strengthened partnership between the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women & Poverty and Westpac Banking Corporation to increase coverage of the electronic mode of transfer payments in the rural and maritime areas.

Since 2011, the social welfare programs were administered electronically making it easier for recipients to access their monthly allowances through payments in their individual bank accounts.

In 2010, a government tender was awarded to the Westpac Banking Corporation to implement electronic mode of payments (e-payments) for social welfare.

The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation acting permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said the electronic payment system had received a great response from recipients, particularly by those in the elderly category who no longer have to queue to receive their allowances,? Dr Koroivueta said.

?Electronic payments have proven be a success in terms of delivering government?s assistance to the disadvantaged individuals and families in Fiji. It has helped to bring in efficiency in social services, as previously recipients were issued with voucher books to access their monthly allowances.

?Ninety nine per cent of our recipients are accessing their allowances electronically. Welfare allowances are deposited into their accounts and they withdraw using Westpac Handy Cards at ATM and EFTPOS facilities.?

The ministry?s expansion on coverage for e-payments will allow recipients in Kadavu to be issued with the Westpac handy cards this week.

?The ministry is pleased to announce that all social welfare recipients in Kadavu will now be able to access their allowances, electronically,? he said.

?We have got these services to recipients in Bua province, Macuata and Cakaudrove where they do not have to travel all the way to Nabouwalu or Labasa to get the money. ?They now go to the nearest local shops to access allowances through wireless EFTPOS facility. It alleviates transportation costs for the recipients.?

The Westpac staff and social welfare officers have started issuing the Westpac Handy Cards in Kadavu this week and will continue till March 13, 2013.

The team will be based in Tavuki from March 6 until Saturday, March 9, then move to Kavala. All the recipients in Kadavu have been advised to bring their identification cards and make way to specified locations to collect their Westpac Handy Cards.

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3.?BEST PROGRAM TO ENHANCE TVET IN SCHOOLS

The Ministry of Education is committed to raising the image of Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) through the National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) of the Fiji National University.

Minister for Education, Filipe Bole said that to enhance TVET training, Basic Employment Skills Training Program (BEST) had been endorsed.

BEST had been implemented in schools at Form 5 level in 2012 and another 62 schools will take up the program this year.

?This program will be facilitated by NTPC and is based on the industry standards developed through the National Qualifications Framework,? Mr Bole said.

?If children are exposed to TVET earlier on in life, they will realise its importance and value for their future.

?On a macro level, the mainstreaming of TVET has been recognised as an effective way of increasing the national skills level and furthermore, contributing towards individuals becoming entrepreneurs.?

More schools, with the assistance from the Education Ministry, will introduce the BEST program in 2014.

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