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ANALYSIS: Household Expenditure And Income Survey

This is an informative publication, sponsored by The Fiji Sun, Fiji Bureau of Statistics and HFC Bank. All views expressed or implied are purely of the Treasurer at HFC Bank,
25 Jul 2015 10:00
ANALYSIS: Household Expenditure And Income Survey

This is an informative publication, sponsored by The Fiji Sun, Fiji Bureau of Statistics and HFC Bank. All views expressed or implied are purely of the Treasurer at HFC Bank, Peter Fuata.

 

Research finds some children were forced to leave school to look for work to support their family.

Even though the law prohibits children below the age of 18 to work during school hours, this law was not enforced as in the case for developing countries with high levels of poverty.

This was because strict implementation will mean for some of these families to go without food or not able to meet their needs due to financial difficulties.

In 2009, figures show that 15 per cent of our children did not complete the full eight years of their primary education and 74.9 per cent did not complete secondary education.

This was a looming problem that the Government have combated by providing the following:

  • School bus fare scheme that aims to offset transportation costs
  • Free tuition for primary and secondary education
  • Providing free textbooks in the primary and secondary level
  • Providing scholarships for tertiary students

The EU data indicated that the percentage of children attending school have increased between 2005 and 2011 with:

Low wages is a major reason why many people in Fiji are in poverty.

Statistics show that 35 per cent of Fiji’s population earn below the poverty line while 30 per cent earn just above it and 23 per cent of the youth population remain unemployed.

The Household Income and Expenditure Survey is critical in providing analysis of the national incidence of poverty and a better targeted formulation of poverty alleviation measures.

Poverty between 2002-2003 and 2008-2009 were as follows:

It shows that the aggregate poverty for the economy and the urban areas have reduced but in the rural areas, poverty continues to increase.

 

Some patterns

Similar patterns are evident with average household incomes, with the national average rising by 36% in nominal terms, and 7% in real terms.

This reflected the opposite changes of a real 19% increase in urban households and a decline of 13% in rural households.

The gap between rural and urban households increased further from -31% to -50%.

 

Solution

With the urban sector recording an improved percentage of decline in poverty and improving opportunities in income, the rural-urban drift has continued its inexorable advance.

Failure to improve the living standards and household incomes in rural areas, together with a continuation of poverty alleviation measures in the highly visible and easily accessible urban areas, will only serve to accelerate the rural-urban drift.

It will also increase pressures for basic services in urban areas, while further worsening rural poverty.

It is of the utmost importance that development strategies for Fiji and public sector infrastructure investment programmes focus their efforts on rural development, including the appropriate support for cash income generating agriculture.

Feedback: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

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