Shocking stats on i-Taukei Poverty – Chaudhry
FLP Leader says the enormous gap between the two major communities now is unsettling

Shocking stats on i-Taukei Poverty – Chaudhry

FLP Leader says the enormous gap between the two major communities now is unsettling

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 14/09/2021
Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.

Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry says it is absolutely shocking that the iTaukei population constitute 75 percent of the 258,053 people living in poverty in our country.

According to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics Housing Income and Expenditure Survey 2019-2020, 30 percent of Fiji’s population lived in poverty with Indo Fijians comprising 23 percent of this compared to 75 percent of the iTaukei.

Chaudhry says these are pre-COVID figures and are already outdated.

He says the situation today as a result of the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy, would be much worse with the rate of poverty close to 50 percent.

Chaudhry further says if people living on the edge of poverty were taken into consideration, the figure could be as high as 60 percent.

He says the deteriorating social conditions of the indigenous Fijian community is alarming.

In a statement, Chaudhry says in the years before the 2006 coup, the difference in poverty levels among the iTaukei and the Indo Fijian population was negligible.

He says in other words, there were as many poor Indo Fijians as poor iTaukei.

The former Prime Minister says this enormous gap between the two major communities now is unsettling and could have very serious ramifications in terms of social stability. Chaudhry says the iTaukei could see themselves as being marginalized in their own land which could lead to resentment with serious political repercussions.

He also says we have to ask ourselves how this huge gap was created and according to him, it shows that the iTaukei community is being neglected by the government.

Chaudhry says the survey also showed an alarmingly high level of poverty in the rural sector (62 percent) as opposed to 37 percent in the urban centres. He says this again is a reflection of the government’s policies (or lack of it) for the rural sector.

According to the FLP Leader, the deteriorating state of rural infrastructure and the neglect of agriculture and other primary resources, have had a marked impact on the income of the rural people. He says Government policies have been too lopsided with a heavy emphasis on tourism.

Fijivillage has approached Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar for comments on the Fiji Bureau of Statistics Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2019-2020 and on the work being done to address poverty in the country. They are yet to respond.

Click to read: 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey Report

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