NGOs question revision in poverty rate

May 10, 2022 4:20 pm

Sashi Kiran (From left), Shamima Ali.

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development have raised concerns on the recent revision of Fiji’s poverty rate report by the World Bank.

FRIEND Fiji Chief Executive, Sashi Kiran says her organization assists Fijians living in poverty, and it’s hard to digest a report that has changed Fiji’s poverty rate.

Kiran is calling on the World Bank, Fijian government and the Bureau of Statistics to conduct a survey in the Western Division in order to paint a more accurate picture.

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She adds that if anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated poverty in Fiji.

“So how can we say that poverty in Western Division has dropped, go and do a survey in Nadi and Lautoka and tell us that poverty has dropped, if anything I don’t think the country has ever seen the rise in poverty that we have seen and we know it’s because of Pandemic, we need to acknowledge it and we need to be making provisions.”

FWCC Coordinator, Shamima Ali says the NGO has gone beyond its mandate and provided groceries to people they don’t usually serve, having distributed more than 2,000 food packs to struggling families.

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the government does not direct the World Bank on what to put in its reports.

“When it suits them World Bank is correct when it doesn’t suit them World Bank is not correct, the same thing with any media organization. A media organization is only independent if it is critical of the government, in the same way with economists, you know if it is independent of government then only then that’s an independent economist.”

The World Bank says Fiji’s national poverty line remains virtually unchanged at $2179.40 in the original, compared to $2179.50 in the revision.

The overall poverty rate has gone from 29.9 percent to 24.1 percent.

When contacted about the claims made today, World Bank has told FBC News that its statement from 25 April remains current on this issue.