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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Fijian PM Bainimarama announces $70m plan to rebuild Fiji’s homes

Fiji's ‘Help for Homes' initiative in extending financial assistance for homeowners to rebuild their homes post cyclone Winston was announced Saturday by the Prime Minister.

This initiative is designed to benefit affected Fijians who do not have the means to finance repairs on their own – households whose annual income falls under F$50,000 (US$24,000) a year.

Voreqe Bainimarama said the households would receive a pre-paid electronic card, with a set amount on it and a PIN (Personal Identification Number) to purchase building materials from selected hardware outlets.
These electronic cards are being provided by telecom company, Vodafone free of charge as a contribution to the rebuilding effort.

“The amount on the card will depend on the amount of damage to people’s homes - A $1,500 (US$717) limit for partial roofing damage, a $3,000 (US$1,434) limit for serious roofing damage, and a $7,000 (US$3,345) limit for almost or completely demolished homes,” he said.

“The cards will grant Fijians the flexibility to take advantage of the competition between hardware outlets. We encourage everyone to be thrifty – maximise the funds you’ve been given and be a smart shopper."
The government has partnered with the Fiji Institute of Engineers (FIE) to work towards the rebuilding processes.

The institute, providing its service free of charge has helped assess the costs to rebuild public buildings, including schools under government’s ‘Adopt A School’ programme. They have also sent 70 structural assessors in 22 teams to identify the precise needs of the 229 schools and other public buildings such as health centres, that have been damaged or destroyed by Winston.

The Prime Minister said FIE will also help with 'future proofing' Fiji with engineering and building standards appropriate to the challenging new era faced due to the effects of climate change, increased flooding and more frequent and devastating cyclones.

Expressions of interest for hardware outlets to bid for the right to sell materials to the recipients of these cards will be called out in a newspaper. The successful hardware outlets will receive card reading machines and be open to all cardholders.

There is an initial $70 million (US$33.453m) available for this initiative. Bainimarama said the amount may be subject to revision depending on the applications received and how much donor assistance is provided.
“I urge the hardware sector to be as competitive as possible in the tender process to keep prices down in the interests of everyone,” he said.

“We expect that electronic cards will be issued from the start of May and the funds are to be redeemed by 30 June.” PM Bainimarama said.

Meanwhile, the Fijian government has launched an Adopt a School website inviting individuals and organisations to contribute to the reconstruction of schools.

The website currently lists 220 schools.  ‘Intermediate Costs’ are listed for 93 schools while ‘Long-Term Costs’ are listed for 79.  It is understood costs for the remaining schools would be made available later.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the intermediate phase of the reconstruction process was designed to get schools serviceable again.  The long-term phase involved schools be rebuilt to the required standards to withstand future cyclones.

According to PM Bainimarama, the Fiji Institute of Engineers had sent 70 structural assessors in 22 teams to identify the precise requirements of those schools that need assistance.

“Detailed individual reports are being compiled on each school and a dollar value placed on their needs. Some have been destroyed and will have to be completely rebuilt. Some have been badly damaged and require extensive repairs. In others, classes have resumed but there is still damage to infrastructure and facilities,” said Bainimarama.

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/ NEWSWIRE/PACNEWS

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 4:03 PM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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