A-G: 242,941 Applications Received Within 24 Hours

Government has assisted Fijians with incentives ever since the pandemic began. We had rolled out the $90 assistance a few weeks ago to help them with groceries and essential supplies and a total of more than $10.6 million was paid out to more than 180, 000 households.
04 Jun 2021 11:16
A-G: 242,941 Applications Received Within 24 Hours
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Photo: DEPTFO

As of last night, over 242, 941 applications have been received by the Ministry of Economy for the $50 assistance for those above the age of 18 living in Viti Levu and are not receiving any other sort of COVID-19 assistance from the Government.

This was revealed by the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy in Parliament last night.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said these numbers were recorded just 24 hours after it was opened on Wednesday.

He added that applications would close today as they expect the number of applicants to increase.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum made the revelation while contributing to the motion by National Federation Party Member of Parliament Pio Tikoduadua who moved that Parliament a sum of $50 million from the COVID-19 support aid funds provided by Governments of New Zealand and Australia to be disbursed as income support to the unemployed and affected small and medium businesses as a result of the outbreak of the pandemic.

Mr Tikoduadua in moving his motion said: This isn’t a time to drip-feed assistance like the $90 per family one-off payment that the Honourable Minister for Economy clarified in his press conference during parliament’s lunch break on Wednesday.

“It requires a far greater commitment and decisiveness on the part of the government to help bring some relief to families, the less fortunate and small & amp; medium enterprises until something more substantial in the 2021-22 National Budget next month,” Mr Tikoduadua added.

The motion was defeated in Parliament last night.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in his contribution to the debate said the Government had contributed more to Fijians who had been affected by the pandemic.

“Government has assisted Fijians with incentives ever since the pandemic began. We had rolled out the $90 assistance a few weeks ago to help them with groceries and essential supplies and a total of more than $10.6 million was paid out to more than 180, 000 households,” he said.

“Government has continued with payment of social benefit schemes to all vulnerable populations such as the elderly, people with disabilities and low income households. Food ration distributions were provided to households that faced difficulties during the lockdown period.”

“Through the COVID-19 concessional loan facility more than 5000 MSMEs were assisted with approximately $30m to support their operations.

“Fijians over the age of 18 in Viti Levu will receive assistance from the Government if they are not receiving any current benefits. We have budgeted $10 million for this.”


Investment Bill 2020: A-G says it will ensure attractive investment climate

The Investment Bill 2020 that replaces the Foreign Investment Act of 1999 was passed in Parliament yesterday.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the Investment Bill 2020 will ensure that there is increased foreign and domestic investments.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bill would ensure an attractive investment climate allowing employment and growth for Fijians.

He added that the Bill seeks to strengthen five fundamental principles of investment which were Clarity, Transparency, Openness and Predictability, Basic Investor Rights In Line With International Best Practice, Legal Recourse And Investment Rights.

Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights Alvick Maharaj said while the change in time had brought with it, its inevitable consequence, which has seen existing laws becoming somewhat insufficient in many areas.

Mr Maharaj while contributing to the debate on the new Bill said: “There were a lot of loopholes and lack of transparency for the investor, nor does it necessarily give the right of recourse to the Fijian Government in certain instances, and there is no specific focus on the national security interest.

“The Fijian Government saw this as an opportunity to work towards making positive changes, which are intended to better the country,” he said.

SODELPA Member of Parliament Aseri Radrodro said it was unfortunate that one of the most important bills to be tabled in Parliament has not had much consultations externally by members of the business community and regulatory authorities.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the members of the opposition needed to know that consultations with the public do not only begin when the Bill goes to committee.

He added that consultations on a Bill began when they were formulated.




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