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Inequality More Than Income Gap: A-G

Fiji’s discourse regarding inequality should be more than just disparity in income. Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made the remark when he delivered his inaugural statement at the
16 Jun 2016 09:48
Inequality More Than Income Gap: A-G
Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (seated, second from left), with National Consultation on Reducing Inequality participants at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay. Photo: Office of the Attorney-General

Fiji’s discourse regarding inequality should be more than just disparity in income.

Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made the remark when he delivered his inaugural statement at the National Consultation on Reducing Inequality at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay.

The A-G said the discourse should include aspects of legal rights, right to legal advice.

Also it should include the ability to be legally treated equally in society, and to have recourse if there is some form of breach of these rights is also critical.

He encouraged analysts to consider these fundamental issues when conducting research and study on the issue.

Fiji continues to lead the way in reducing inequalities in the region, he said. This includes our progress in establishing social protection schemes.

In Samoa and Vanuatu however, their schemes are limited only to those in formal employments.

 

Subsidy

He said Fiji also provides subsidised services for the use of public transport for the elderly and people living with disability.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “We are keen to share with our Pacific island nations strategies and solutions we have developed that are tailored to the unique regional challenges that we and our neighbours face.”

He said the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (ESCAP) work in this area supports Fiji’s efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society have access to quality health care, education and other essential services.

Head of ESCAP Office, Iosefa Maiava said the reduction of inequality (both inequality of income and opportunity) requires a broad range of social and economic policy initiatives.

He said this would include measures like decent work, a progressive tax system and the removal of discriminatory laws and practices.

The consultation brought together more than 50 high-level government representatives and key stakeholders from civil society and academia.

 

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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