Former servicemen’s dues ready

National, Normal

THE Justice Department finalised the final entitlements for ex-servicemen throughout the country.
Justice Minister Dr Allan Marat yesterday announced a temporary school fees exemption for ex-PNG Defence Force servicemen who could not afford to pay for their children’s school fees this year.
Dr Marat said as a temporary measure, the exemption would be for the first two terms of the school year and, hopefully, expire by the end of the third term by which time all outstanding school fees together with those for the third and last term would be settled in full.
“I am optimistic that by that time, we would have settled most, or if not, all of the outstanding claims (ex-servicemen’s retrenchment and retirement benefits),” Dr Marat said.
In a statement, the Justice Department said Dr Marat had written to Education Minister James Marape in January seeking for a temporary school fees exemption arrangement for ex-servicemen who could not afford to pay for their children’s school fees.
Dr Marat had pointed out that as this academic year was approaching some ex-servicemen could not afford to send their children to school as they could not afford their school fees.
“The ex-Defence Force servicemen have, since 1982, been waiting for the State to settle their outstanding retrenchment and retirement benefits.
“This group, comprising more than 7,000 men, are scattered throughout PNG and live mostly in our towns and cities with very little income.
“Most of them live on borrowed money and depend on their relatives and friends for food, transport and shelter,” Dr Marat said.