Pension for pensioners, not for entire families
Family members should not rely on the monthly senior citizens benefit for survival.
That was the message from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who said the money is intended to help senior citizens with what they need.
“The financial assistance is to help the senior citizens but it was not intended for their children, grandchildren and great-great grandchildren,” the Prime Minister said.
Tuilaepa was speaking during the debate on the $19.4 million additional expenditures in the Supplementary budget for financial year 2018-2019.
The Government has increased the amount of the pension by $10 tala so that it is now $145 a month.
Tuilaepa said the Government has allocated $18 million for the pension, which he said is not a small amount, given the fact the Government has other priorities, like education and health.
But he was very specific about one thing.
“It is not intended to help with the daily necessities for the families,” he said.
“It appears your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are depending on this benefit which has been put aside for the senior citizens.”
“When I hear complaints by the senior folks, that this is not enough; then maybe it is time to consider increasing the eligibility age to 80 or 90.”
“Another M.P. spoke about financial assistance for low income families to assist with their children’s fees.”
“It is the parents responsibilities to pay for their child’s tuition; but all of the sudden they are looking at the Government to pay for their school fees; then why did those parents make those kids when they can’t afford it?”
“I was chased from school twice when I didn’t pay for my school fees and my father paid for it. Parents also have a role to play in the education of their children and not depend solely on the Government.”
The Prime Minister pointed out that $18 million is allocated for elders benefits; $14 million on education and these funds comes from the tax revenues.
“Yet some people are paying for taxes while others refuse to pay taxes,” said Tuilaepa.