More People Out Of Poverty: Report

Jyoti Pratibha & Jessica Goundar

Poverty levels in Fiji further declined by 2.9 per cent for 2013-2014.

The number of people living below the poverty line decreased by 15,372 when compared to the estimated 252,777 in the period 2008-2009.

The figures are in the latest household income and expenditure survey report for 2013-2014 released by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics yesterday.

Poverty level in Fiji was 35 per cent for the 2002 to 2003 period. This decreased to 31 per cent for 2008-2009 and further declined to 28.1 per cent 2013-2014

A significant decline in rural poverty has also been noted from 43 per cent in 2008-2009 to 36.7 per cent 2013-2014.

Urban poverty, however, increased from 18 per cent to 19.8 per cent for the same period.

Statistics also reveal that over a third of the poor population live in the Central Division. An estimated 80,497 people fall in this category in the Central Division while 76,337 fall in this category in the Western Division.

It has also been noted that wage and salary increased significantly in the rural areas of the Western Division, which resulted in a significant reduction to the area’s poverty rate- from 43 per cent in 2008-2009 to 26.6 per cent in 2013-2014.

Growth in tourism related activities in the area is being attributed to this.

“The record visitor arrivals of 754,835 in 2015 would have resulted in more openings for Fiji’s workforce. The poor in society will have gained their share of income generating work, which should lower the incidences of poverty further,” Fiji Bureau of Statistics has noted.
Fiji Red Cross Society’s operations manager Eseroma Ledua said Government’s initiatives were paying off. Government’s support for locals to do business and teaching them to be resilient would definitely get people out of poverty.

Fiji Women Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said she needed to see the report first before she could comment.

People’s Community Network chairman Father Kevin Barr said he had no confidence in the figures released. He claimed they were analysed by the World Bank for the Bureau of Statistics.

Source: Fiji Sun. Date: 23 January, 2016