NATION

COVID-19: Small Business Owner Seeks Assistance After Laying Off Staff

Mr Biuvanua was one of the many queuing at the Fiji National Provident Fund Plaza in Suva hoping to get FNPF assistance.
29 Mar 2020 15:42
COVID-19: Small Business Owner Seeks Assistance After Laying Off Staff
Josaia Biuvanua at the FNPF Building in Suva on March 27, 2020.

Josaia Biuvanua, 53, of Cunningham, used to run a maintenance business in Savusavu but had to lay-off his workers following the COVID-19 crisis.

Mr Biuvanua was one of the many queuing at the Fiji National Provident Fund Plaza in Suva hoping to get FNPF assistance.

It comes after changes in FNPF policies following the announcement of the COVID-19 Response Budget by the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy on Thursday night. The father of three said: “I came today in the hope that FNPF had funds allocated to help me with finance during this crisis.

“They told me today (Friday) to come back on Monday.

“I heard that there are some funds that are to be allocated for those who are struggling like myself.

“The funds are not enough, especially not knowing how many months this will go on for but it is a lot of help for now.

“If there is an opportunity to work I will take it.”

Leave without pay

Also waiting were couple Lepani Kanaloa and his wife, Laisa.

Mrs Kanaloa was employed by Punjas Limited. Since December, she was told by her employer to take leave without pay and return in April.

She was there to apply for Unemployment Assistance.

Lepani Kanaloa with his granddaughter Wakesa Dola and wife Laisa Kanaloa at the FNFP Building in Suva. Photo: Susana Tuilau Parent finds education website useful for daughter Shalini Verma and her 9-year-old daughter Shyhana using the Ministry of Education website.

Lepani Kanaloa with his granddaughter Wakesa Dola and wife Laisa Kanaloa at the FNFP Building in Suva. Photo: Susana Tuilau

“It has been a successful day because we didn’t have to wait long and I can come back with all the requirements needed to access those funds,” she said.

“There are also some funds allocated for COVID-19 and I hope we qualify for that as well.

“We are thankful that we are able to get such assistance.”

While they have five children, the couple want to be financially independent.

Mr Kanaloa is a pensioner.

The Fiji Police Force and the FNPF staff worked together yesterday to ensure those lining up were following the directive given by the Government, only allowing 20 people in at a time.

FNPF Public Relations Officer Rusiate Biudole confirmed that they will release a statement soon on the processes and procedures members require to access funds.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: susana.tuilau@fijisun.com.fj




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