Kemueli Naiqama is back as CEO of the Fiji Bureau of Statistics.
Naiqama was sacked by the then Acting Permanent Secretary, Shiri Goundar in September 2021 for failure to comply with Section 5 of the Statistics Act 1961.
The statement said at that time that it was an unfortunate blow to the Bureau’s credibility, Naiqama endorsed the publication of unverifiable information in the Housing Income and Expenditure Survey 2019-2020 relating to ethnicity and religion – data that was revealed to be extrapolated from erroneous sources and which exceeded the established scope of the survey’s data collection. This followed former Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum's outbursts the night before Naiqama's sacking where Sayed-Khaiyum raised concern about the ethnic and religious data released by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics in the 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey.
Sayed-Khaiyum said the CEO of the Fiji Bureau of Statistics had not acted in line with government policy and the law.
The Fiji Bureau of Statistics 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey confirmed 29.9 percent of Fijians, or about 258,000 individuals in 45,724 households, lived under the Basic Needs Poverty Line of $41.91 per adult equivalent per week.
This means that three out of ten Fijians were living in poverty in 2019-2020, with rural poverty still much higher than urban poverty.
According to the Bureau of Statistics, 160,450 people in rural areas are living in absolute poverty while 97,602 people in urban areas are living in absolute poverty.
Based on the bureau’s poverty estimates and distribution, 192,977 iTaukei, 58,933 Indo Fijians and 6,143 from the others population makeup are living in absolute poverty. This means the iTaukei made up 74.8 percent of those people living in absolute poverty, Indo Fijians made up 22.8 percent while other communities made up 2.4 percent.
The Ministry of Finance has confirmed that it has appointed Kemueli Naiqama as the CEO of the Fiji Bureau of Statistics.
Naiqama has over 28 years of experience in official statistics, economic policy making and strategic planning. He holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of the South Pacific, Post Graduate Certificate in International Relations, Bachelor of Arts majoring in Economics and a Bachelor of Technology.
Naiqama has held senior leadership positions within the Ministry of Finance/Strategic Planning, Fiji Bureau of Statistics and the Office of the Prime Minister. He was also seconded to serve as the Directors Advisor at the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
He has also served in various Government and Regional Committees.
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