Ministry expresses concern over unutilized bus fare assistance

November 27, 2023 6:56 am

Around 24,000 active beneficiaries of bus fare assistance under the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Protection have accumulated balances and have not been utilizing the assistance, raising concerns about the program’s effectiveness.

Minister Lynda Tabuya revealed that these balances range from $25 to $300, indicating that a significant portion of the allocated funds is lying unused.

She says fifty percent of bus fare assistance recipients have failed to utilize their funds.

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“Government has been topping up cards of our recipients and over 50 percent do not use it so there was a big budget from the Ministry that was going to this. In fact when we came into government by the last quarter we had a $12 million shortfall in terms of our welfare assistance because this was being paid to users account and they were not being utilized.”

Tabuya says they are trying to address the potential for any abuse.

“There is room for abuse in terms of other members of the family using the card and the bus drivers don’t necessarily distinguish or ascertain if you are over 60 when you are using your card , they just take the money.”

The program which was rolled out in 2011 had 22,000 recipients and the number has doubled since then with 42,000 on the list as of August this year.