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Parliament

30,000 senior citizens not using subsidized bus cards

September 4, 2020 4:50 pm
Around 30,000 elderly citizens under the Social Welfare Bus-fare Subsistence programme do not use their cards. [File Photo]

Around 30,000 elderly citizens under the Social Welfare Bus-fare Subsistence programme do not use their cards.

There are 82,600 elderly citizens under the bus fare assistance program but the average usage per month is about 52,000.

Minister for Social Welfare Mereseini Vuniwaqa revealed this in parliament when questioned about the rationale behind reducing the Social Welfare Bus Subsistence to $10 a month.

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Vuniwaqa says due to the effects COVID-19 they had to re-think how to ensure that everyone is assisted and that critical public services continue.

Vuniwaqa stresses that apart from the bus fare assistance, the government also assists the elderly through the social pension scheme.

“At such a time like this, Government considers the livelihoods of our pensioners is very critical and will not, therefore, touch their pension, like I said it is a balancing exercise. Most of those who benefit from the bus fare assistance that is the subject of this question is also on the social pension scheme.”

She adds $55m is spent on pension for the elderly, the highest allocation of all in the Social Protection Programs under the Department of Social Welfare.

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