Total payment for COVID-19 assistance in Fiji stands at over 92 million USD

2021-01-12 06:35:48 GMT2021-01-12 14:35:48(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

SUVA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The total payment for COVID-19 assistance in Fiji stands at 189 million Fijian dollars (about 92.6 million U.S. dollars), including government top-up.

According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) on Tuesday, the COVID-19 assistance by Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) started last April.

"As of today, the Fund has paid out 109 million Fijian dollars (about 53.4 million U.S. dollars) for all the COVID-19 assistance so far. We are running various continuation of phases and government top-up is at about 80 million Fijian dollars (about 39.2 million U.S. dollars)," said Jaoji Koroi, chief executive of the FNPF.

They are still processing some of the COVID-19 applications with payments to be done in a timely manner, he said, adding that they are simultaneously processing applications for tropical cyclone Yasa assistance.

He said that the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Fijian economy, and the FNPF will continue to ensure solvency in the long run.

As at December last year 17,000 FNPF members had zero balance in their general account after making withdrawals due to COVID-19.

In a related development, more than 19,000 Fijian families most-affected by the impacts of COVID-19 will receive 100 Fijian dollars (about 49 U.S. dollars) a month over the next four months through digital cash transfers that is being done through the Fiji National Philanthropic Trust Cash Assistance Program - a partnership between Save the Children Fiji, Fiji Council of Social Services and Vodafone Fiji.

Fiji recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 19 last year, and two of the 53 cases have died so far. Many businesses, especially those of Fiji's tourism industry, have since then gone bankrupt or suspended operations, resulting in a lot of unemployed people.

COVID-19 has had serious impact on Fiji's economy, which, the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) said earlier, is envisaged to contract by 19 percent in 2020. Enditem