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Survey-based on ethnicity and religion is questionable and unreliable: AG

September 15, 2021 6:55 am

The Attorney-General has labeled the methodology used by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics to conduct the recent Household Income and Expenditure Survey as unreliable and flawed.

The FBOS in its 2019-20 HIES provided the breakdown of the poverty rate in Fiji along the line of ethnicity and religion.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says using a sample size based on ethnicity and religion is highly questionable and unreliable.

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“There was a sample of 6000 households from 199, 698 households or 3 percent of the population. The question that needs to be asked is ‘how is this sample derived from these 6,000 households on the basis of ethnicity? There is no absolute demarcation.”

The Attorney-General says the 2019-20 HIES has exposed FBOS for carrying out ethnic analysis based on a flawed system, adding that the government is opposed to putting ethnicity and religion to poverty.

“Now that FBOS has released the ethnic and religious breakdown of HIES, we are very concerned about it. Firstly, the data cannot be relied upon. There are huge integrity issues in respect of how they chose the sample, in respect of indeed what the sample was.”

Sayed-Khaiyum reiterated that ethnic and religious categorization is a huge step backward for the country.

“It is a big issue. If you are going to start having compassion for people based on their ethnicity then you are losing your sense of humanity and that’s precisely what has happened.”

The Attorney-General says this survey cannot be compared to other HIES because the methodology used for the previous survey was based on income methodology whereas the focus now is on consumption.

Referring to the statement made by the former government statistician, Sayed-Khaiyum says any categorization from the 2017 census cannot be relied upon.

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