Opinion

EDITORIAL: $1000 Grant Having positive Impact Among Our People

A new fishing net in the hands of some, if not many people, may not mean much.  But in the hands Meli Kenawai, of Muanikoso, Nasinu, outside Suva, it means
26 Jan 2018 10:52
EDITORIAL: $1000 Grant Having positive  Impact Among Our People
Meli Kenawai, of Muanikoso, Nasinu

A new fishing net in the hands of some, if not many people, may not mean much.

 But in the hands Meli Kenawai, of Muanikoso, Nasinu, outside Suva, it means his livelihood, his family and financial independence.

He was struggling to compete with other fishermen because of aging gear. In desperation he looked for help and help did come from the Micro and Small Business Grant (MSBG), a FijiFirst Government initiative. The $1000 grant was just the lifeline he needed to rejuvenate his ailing fishing venture.

He bought a new net and soon it was making a positive difference despite the risks involved. With commitment and perseverance he rebuilt his small fishing business. He bought a new 18-horsepower engine to replace the old one that had broken down and, a freezer to keep his catch for longer periods.

He has also invested his fishing income to diversify into livestock farming involving cattle and pigs.

He is one of the many recipients of the grant who have done well for themselves. Their lives have been transformed. The grant gave him economic empowerment and hope for the future.

MrKenawai is living evidence that the grant is achieving what it was intended for – to give budding small business entrepreneurs an opportunity to start a business of their own.

This is no vote buying gimmick, as some opposition politicians called the initiative. The success of this programme proves it is addressing a need. Politicians who have criticised it are far removed from the reality on the ground.

They need to go out and talk to the people like the Fiji Sun has done. They will discover that the grant is making a positive change in the lives of ordinary people, who otherwise would have had no hope to get ahead in life.

 The beauty about this programme is that it has touched and lifted the spirit of people from different walks of life, cultures, ethnicity, religions, socio-economic backgrounds and political persuasions.

 It brings to life the vision behind our Constitution of a united people getting equal opportunities to progress in life.

 Unfortunately, some have the erroneous perception that the less fortunate, the poor and destitutes are confined to one particular group, ethnicity or culture.

 It’s not. The needy in our communities are representative of the various groups that exist among us.

If you are present in one of these cheque presentations, you will see the strong, racial and cultural mix. We have the needy people in all our communities. We need to be aware of this.

Imagine when you multiply Mr  Kenawai’s experience and success, representing the success stories of this programme, you will begin to notice an impressive picture.

These are the drivers of an important segment of our economy. They provide a vital service – whether it’s fishing, flowers or a clothing business.

We cannot simply ignore them because they are small. They form that essential cog in the economic wheel.

Take the time and talk to some of these grant recipients and you will find how appreciative and grateful they are for the $1000 grant.

To them, it’s a lifesaver.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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