AG says almost 100,000 Fijians have been lifted out of poverty but it has been said that a comparative analysis cannot be done as the methodology is different
Stop misleading, poverty rate could be closer to 50% - Prof. Narsey

AG says almost 100,000 Fijians have been lifted out of poverty but it has been said that a comparative analysis cannot be done as the methodology is different

Stop misleading, poverty rate could be closer to 50% - Prof. Narsey

By Vijay Narayan , Rashika Kumar
Monday 01/08/2022
Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says based on current population estimates, it is clear that under the Bainimarama government, almost 100,000 Fijians have been lifted out of poverty however it has been said that a comparative analysis cannot be done with the poverty rates from 2002-2003, 2008-2009, 2013-2014 and 2019-2020 as the methodology is different.

Sayed-Khaiyum said in parliament that the poverty rate is 24.1 percent as per 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey, which was the lowest level of poverty ever recorded in Fiji. He says in 2002 and 2003, the poverty rate was 35 percent in 2008 and 2009, poverty was 31 percent then it fell 28 percent in 2013 and 2014 and was around 24 percent in 2019–2020.

The Minister says that is the boom as lifting 100,000 people out of poverty is no ordinary feet.

He says it is a direct result of 9 years of consecutive economic growth and various social empowerment initiatives like free education, equality in employment and creation of thousands of jobs under the Bainimarama government.

Sayed-Khaiyum says of course we need to fight more against poverty but it is not an overnight fight. He says it requires continuous effort, it requires extra effort from everybody, it requires decisive leadership, strategic thinking and way forward thinking not until the next elections but the next 5 to 20 years.

However economist, Professor Wadan Narsey says it seems the rate of poverty could be closer to 50 percent in Fiji and the Minister for Economy’s statement that almost 100,000 people have been lifted out of poverty is misleading. Narsey says what the Minister said would be acceptable if the rates of poverty he has been quoting in Parliament were comparable.

He says unfortunately the Fiji Bureau of Statistics and the World Bank had issued a statement very specifically warning the Fijian public that those rates of poverty were not comparable because the one that was calculated in 2019 and 2020 was based on a totally different methodology from the previous ones.

He says it basically means poverty lines have been reduced and if you reduce the poverty lines, you have fewer people in poverty.

Professor Narsey says organisations like FRIEND who are on the ground have been saying poverty rates are much higher than that because the household income and expenditure survey was also done before COVID-19.

The World Bank had said in a statement in April this year that it should be noted that the 2019-2020 poverty estimates are based on consumption per capita and cannot be compared directly to 2013-2014 poverty measures which were based on income.

It said the household consumption estimates in Fiji’s 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey were updated to account for revised estimates on spending on non-food items such as utilities, communications, domestic services and education. This change affects consumption-based poverty estimates based on the survey, with Fiji’s national poverty rate for 2019-2020 estimated at 24.1 percent, compared to 29.9 percent previously recorded.

The discrepancy in the coding was identified by the World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Global Practice Team during a cross-check review exercise to ensure Fiji’s Survey remains in-line with international practices.

The review identified that in the consumption aggregate estimated from the 2019-2020 Survey, expenditure on four non-food categories: utilities (electricity, gas, water, garbage collection), communications (telephone, TV, internet and postal) domestic services and education (including school fees and books) was only included for households that spend on all sub-categories.

The World Bank said the revised expenditure measures now represent total spending on any of these items, bringing these figures in line with international standards.

The change has resulted in household consumption figures being revised upwards for most Fijian households, with non-food consumption originally representing 4 percent of total household consumption, now accounting for 11 percent.

The World Bank says Fiji's national poverty line remains virtually unchanged (FJ$2179.4 in the original, compared to FJ$2179.5 in the revision), due to the relatively uniform distribution of non-food expenditure among the households in the original and revised reference groups used to calculate the poverty line. Poverty estimates have now been revised downwards in both urban and rural areas, with estimates for all divisions now lowered by 3.4 to 6.2 percentage points.

Untitled-1-Recovered-Recovered-Recovered-Recovered-Recovered-Recovered-Recovered-Recovered-Recovered


2022-2023 Budget Debate Coverage




Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
IN DEPTH
Womens Rugby World Cup 2022
Quarter-final qualification is now the goal for the Rooster Chicken Fijiana 15’s following their 21-17 victory against South Africa.
103 days ago

Queen Elizabeth II passes away
Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
133 days ago

Fiji wins Melrose Cup after 17 years
Fiji wins the RWC 7s title after 17 year drought
134 days ago
FEATURE NEWS
President suspends Chief Justice Kamal Kumar after complaints of misbehaviour
Chief Justice Kamal Kumar has been suspended. President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere suspended Chief Justice Kumar with full pay on the advice of the Pr...
5 hours ago
LATEST NEWS
Year 12 provisional results to be released tomorrow
The Year 12 National Examination Provisional Results will be released tomorrow. Acting Permanent Secretary, Timoci Bure says 13,281 students sat ...
8 hours ago

203,942 students assisted with a total payout of $40.8 million under the $200 back to school support
The Ministry of Finance has so far assisted 203,942 students with a total payout of $40.8 million under the $200 back to school support. The ...
9 hours ago

Doctor Jokhan resigns from PS Education position
Permanent Secretary for Education, Doctor Anjeela Jokhan has resigned from the position effective from today. Public Service Commission ...
9 hours ago

Fiji Cancer Society to provide free medical check ups in Taveuni this Saturday
People in Taveuni will be able to get free medical check ups this Saturday as the Fiji Cancer Society will be provide cancer education and screening ...
10 hours ago

We will continue to fight to have a Leprosy Free Fiji – Dr Lalabalavu
Although we continue to detect 4 to 7 new cases annually I have confidence in our staff at the Leprosy and Dermatology Department that they will lead ...
10 hours ago

TOP