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An Inclusive Budget, Says Wakaniyasi

An Inclusive Budget, Says Wakaniyasi
Spinal Injury Association members, Mere Rodan (from left) ,Executive Director Joshko Wakaniyasi, Akanisi Latu and Francis Chung in Suva on June 29, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
June 30
11:36 2018

The Fiji Disabled People’s Federation president Joshko Wakaniyasi said the 2018-2019 National Budget reflected Government’s commitment to ensure the Disability Bill becomes a reality.

“This Budget is the next step in the journey that we have been screaming about for the last three to four decades,” Mr Wakaniyasi said.

“Government is now coming down to the ground and asking what the needs are and we are seeing that translating into affirmative actions, and results and outcomes.

“It is about inclusiveness and this Budget gives us a higher confidence that we are part of the Fijian community not only as members of society but as part of the society.”

Government’s done more

Sekonaia Kotobalavu says Government has done a lot more for people living with disabilities compared to previous governments.

The Government has allocated $500,000 towards retrofitting Fijian homes and community centres to accommodate Fijians living with disabilities.

Mr Kotobalavu, who suffers from a spinal injury said although he would have loved to see more allocation for housing he added: “This Government is doing a lot compared to previous governments.

“They have started to look at vulnerable people, people with disabilities.”

Luckily for him, Viti Spinal Injuries Association of Fiji came on board and funded Mr Kotobalavu’s $24,108 dream home which he moved into in February.

He was speaking from his home in Kalabu, Nasinu.

He has been bedridden for 16 years and had spent the past 10 years of his life knocking on doors asking for housing assistance.

Mr Kotobalavu’s 63-year-old mother, Tailasa Moria, welcomed the move to enable elderly persons to ride for free in buses.

Ms Moria said previously she was paying half bus fare with her purple eTransport card, but now the free bus fare scheme would lift the burden of worrying about travel expenses.

Also, the social welfare recipient was thankful to Government for catering for the elderly community.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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