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Inequality A Problem In All Society: Kumar

Inequality is a problem for every society and country and it should not be ignored, says Consumer Council of Fiji chief executive officer Premila Kumar. “Every country is struggling to
02 Aug 2016 11:12
Inequality A Problem In All Society: Kumar
Consumer Council of Fiji chief executive officer Premila Kumar.

Inequality is a problem for every society and country and it should not be ignored, says Consumer Council of Fiji chief executive officer Premila Kumar.

“Every country is struggling to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor,” she said.

“Since the underlying objectives of SDGs are to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and share the prosperity, it is vital to recognise that both consumers and businesses are crucial for economic growth.”

Ms Kumar made these remarks at the third Speaker’s Debate at the Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH) in Suva last night attended by over 500 people including Government ministers, backbenchers and Opposition MPs.

“Some of the inequality is necessary to reward talent, skills and a willingness to innovate and take business risk,” she said.

“However, today’s extreme economic inequality is becoming a threat to our society.”

Ms Kumar further reiterated on the role of the private sector and their contributions to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor.

“In all these where is the private sector? Private sector growth is widely acknowledged as an essential component in poverty alleviation and for providing economic opportunities in any society,” she said.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted the Gini coefficient shown by a recent study by the World Bank that inequality in Fiji had dropped.

The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a nation’s population and is the most commonly used measure of inequality.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Government had been addressing the issues of inequality through a number of measures such as the various taxation schemes that had been introduced and people’s accessibility to essential services.

Reducing inequality and passing on the benefits of economic growth was an on-going project, he said.

“The way to address that project is to ensure that you have right policies in place and those policies need to be sustainable,” he said.

“And those polices need to address everybody’s needs on the basis of need, not the basis of ethnicity, not on the basis of religion and  not on the basis province but on the basis of economical citizenry where peoples’ needs are addressed.”

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

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