Ministry wants $15m

The Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Ministry wants an additional $15m to fund assistance programs. Picture FT/FILE

THE Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has requested for an additional $15 million from the Ministry of Finance to fund its six different channels of assistance in the 2022/2023 budget, states the Fiscal Review Committee.

The committee said more than 96,000 Fiji citizens were registered with Social Welfare for the 160,000 benefit payments distributed over the year, meaning many of the recipients received more than one benefit.

“The current 2022-2023 Government budget for social protection is $125m. The demands on these benefits are expected to outstrip the budgeted amounts by about $15m in the 2022/23 year, which the department has requested from the Ministry of Finance,” the review committee said.

“The department struggles to meet competing demands for benefits within its budget.

“The Department of Social Welfare faces multiple challenges.

“The first of these is data integrity.

“Its beneficiary records are not integrated, either by region or across the different benefits it is providing.

“The records for each type of benefit are separately maintained in each of Fiji’s four divisions. It has no ‘whole picture’ information on which it can analyse trends or suggest policy improvements.

“It cannot plan effectively, anticipate future trends or effectively predict its future needs, even though its clients are the most vulnerable people in the country.”

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