300 000 people in need of social help in Bosnian Serb entity

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Feb 6, 2000 -- (AFP) The head of the Bosnian Serb social security fund warned Saturday that about 300,000 people are in need of assistance which his body cannot provide, Bosnian Serb television reported.

Some 130,000 people are already receiving social security in the Republika Srpska, the Serb-run entity of Bosnia, according to the same source.

A family allowance is paid to households with a monthly income of less than 28.1 German marks (14.36 euros/dollars), Bosko Persinovic, a social worker, told the television station RTRS. Some social aid is available for families earning less than 50 marks a month, he said.

The average monthly salary in Republika Srpska is 210 marks, but according to the Institute for Statistics it costs a four-member family 375 marks to meet its basic needs.

The RTRS report said that among the estimated 1.4 million people living in the Republika Srpska there were 400,000 refugees and displaced persons, 180,000 pensioners and 146,000 unemployed.

Out of 210,000 people in work only half have full time jobs.