About 936 local students who are studying in at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and at the University of Papua New Guinea can now expect their outstanding allowances and other expenses to be settled on time.Students' allowances had been delayed towards the end of last year and were only paid early this year, causing many complaints from Solomon Islands students in Fiji and PNG.
Hardson Kupenga of the National Training Unit (NTU) Department has revealed that, the delay in the payment was due to the fact that there was a delay in the passage of the Government's 2008 Budget. Kupenga said that since everything has now settled down the Department is working on any early payment of the second semester allowances and payments of their campus expenses.
NTU confirms that payments of the students' outstanding allowances and other expenses have already been raised and are now pending in the Department of Finance and Treasury awaiting the availability of funds. Mr. Kupenga said that about SBD$27.5 million has been allocated for the allowances and other students' expenses in this year's Budget.
Meanwhile the Accounts Section of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources (MEHR) revealed that the money allocated for this year to cater for students' allowances and other expenses may fall short of the required amount since the number of students pursuing training in Fiji and Papua New Guinea campuses have increased dramatically this year.
Though the government has stepped up its efforts to deal with the standings promptly, the allocation for University students remain the same and that the possibility of the allocated funding only covering the first semester is highly likely.