NEWS

World Bank Remains Firm In Fiji’s Poverty Stats

World Bank senior external affairs officer for PNG and Pacific Islands Tom Perry said: “We do not have anything further than our statement on April 25.”
11 May 2022 22:30
World Bank Remains Firm In Fiji’s Poverty Stats

The World Bank remains firm in its 2019/2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey of Fiji contrary to local organisations’ claims.

The World Bank had revised its report where the poverty rate in the country decreased from 29.9 per cent to 24.1 per cent.

The revision followed a coding error that the organisation later discovered.

 

World Bank senior external affairs officer for PNG and Pacific Islands Tom Perry said: “We do not have anything further than our statement on April 25.”

Mr Perry’s comment come as Fiji Women Crisis Centre (FWCC) Coordinator Shamima Ali and Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND) Director Susan Kiran claimed that the report was not reflective of Fiji’s current poverty rate.

Ms Ali claimed there was no proper reasoning for the data released by the organisation.

 

“We are very concerned because our bureau of statistics is missing from here. They are quoting the highest report and so on. And we are questioning whether the World Bank has now become our Bureau of stats because they have the report,” Ms Ali said.

“And we are now given this eight months later, after all the due diligence and everything was done. The World Bank has come up with this and there are many unanswered questions here.”

“We haven’t been given any reasoning or justification.”

 

Ms Kiran said the survey provided had ‘old data’ and it did not reflect the country’s current situation.

“Organizations like ours have been nonstop doing response work and we are still doing response work on the ground. So, we would like the government and more than anything the Bureau of Statistics to come to educate us,” Ms Kiran said.

“We are continuously supplying diapers, mobility aid medication, and on an ongoing basis. We need to be thinking about how do we make the net stronger to support these guys instead of giving us some bogus figures like this.”

 

However, Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum also made it clear that the Fiji Bureau of Statistics (FBoS) with technical assistance from the World Bank revised its poverty measurement methodology in 2019-2020 survey to align with international and regional best practices.

He said one of the major changes the bureau had done to its methodology was the use of household consumption aggregates to measure poverty in place of income aggregates. He said there was a consensus that consumption measures give a much more reliable estimate of poverty itself.

He said the government was surprised when the poverty rate was at 29 per cent and had accepted it.

 

“When the FBoS released these figures originally, we had voiced a strong position to some of these findings, particularly in the area of disaggregation, none of them went on about the actual findings of it,” he told parliament.

“They did not talk about rural poverty, maritime poverty; areas in the urban and peri-urban areas where there is poverty; which children in which areas eat one meal a day or two meals a day; who walked 5 kilometres to get to the bus or walked less than 1 kilometre to get to the bus?

He said in Parliament that reactions toward the issue were ‘quite shameful for us’ and apologised to the World Bank.

 

“I would also like to take this opportunity officially to apologies to the World Bank about the unbecoming public attack by honourable Professor Prasad and the Fiji Times questioning the integrity of the World Bank.

 

Feedback: josefa.babitu@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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