State must work with NGOs to identify the vulnerable, says Biman

Professor Biman Prasad. Picture: FILE

GOVERNMENT must work with NGOs to identify the most vulnerable and extend immediate help to them.

This was the word from the National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad in a statement issued yesterday.

He said Government’s much-trumpeted 10-year unprecedented economic boom was meaningless unless the State could provide food on the table for Fijians affected by job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the least that this Government, that has always bragged about giving people a leg up or leaving no one behind, can do, which is to ensure our citizens are able to put food on the table three times a day to feed their families,” said Prof Prasad.

“This Government must know that even before COVID-19, the poverty rate had increased.

“It is now estimated that almost 50 per cent of the people are struggling to make ends meet.

“We are told by outsiders, and that too by a diplomat, that our people, particularly in the economically ravaged Western Division, which was and still can be the lifeblood of Fiji’s economy and growth, are hungry and basically suffering from food poverty.”

United Nations resident co-ordinator in Fiji Sanaka Samarasinha, after a trip to the Western Division last week, said people were facing “serious challenges, literally without food to eat”.

Questions sent to the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday about the comments made by Prof Prasad remain unanswered.

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