Thursday, 30 July 2009 1:11 AM

Tertiary Student Allowance

Dear Editor, I would like to comment on this current issue. With all due respect I thank those of you have contributed to the discussion about tertiary student allowance. Further I would also like to thank those who gave their advice on how students should maximize the meager sustenance allowance that we received. However some comments made need not be made, there were too many generalizations on some of the comments made. Not all SIG sponsored student study at Laucala are the same, there are very young students and there are also matured students who already served Solomon Islands whether it be in public or private sector for good number of years, all have different backgrounds and to group us into a general category and make comments like students are not responsible for their allowance is not only misguided but unfair and unjust. Some students don't even go to some places alleged where students supposedly wasted their money in or even owning luxurious items mentioned. The fact is all of us are different and we face different challenges and these challenges are real not self-made. Our central issue here is the unavoidable effects of devaluation of FJD, if there is no devaluation this topic will never be discussed like the way we currently do now.

Money is useless if it does not have a value, how can one effectively manage a fixed amount of money with a fallen value, to admit, it is quite tough, if you are expert in budgeting try it, I bet you will add up in the negatives or if you are not in the red than you must be reducing consumption which inevitably will result in poor output. Devaluation brings about soar in prices of imported food items in term of foreign currency goes up due to fall in the local currency. So the prices of foods in the local economy imported and locally produced simply increased because of fallen in FJD value. Now when that happens without a change into the equation of student allowance or the allowance remains fixed, the purchasing power has weaken and students will have to put with more than what we usually pay for our daily sustenance and monthly commitment, this is where the crux of the problem comes in. I live here in Suva for some years now and can tell a big difference in terms of current price increase in shops, market, and utility bills compared to say 4 years ago or even just last year for that matter.

So let us be mindful of the fact that these are externalities and beyond the control of the students. While it is true that we should live within what we were given at the same time we cannot because if we do that, performance (output) will suffer or will be sacrificed, as we will be looking for cheaper places to sleep in order stay within the budget (remember the value of FJD had fallen) and study, if your are lucky you will find one that almost uninhabitable, you will be buying food that are not very nutrient, etc etc. For us students all we are asking is for our sponsor (SIG) to restore to us the original allowance purchasing power or the original value of the allowance in terms of FJD coined in the twenty percent devaluation as the basis and not in terms of SBD amount. In that sense it should be clearly seen that we are not asking from some new additional money as some seem to have suggested. Tell you, we had managed all along and prior to the devaluation you seen and read almost nothing in this discussion forum with regards to this issue and that should tell you something.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Tony Tanyto and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

Other Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province