Poverty Rates In Fiji Decline, Attorney-General Claims

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Opposition MP rejects baseless statement

By Atasa Moceituba

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 25, 2016) – Attorney-General and Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the country's poverty level is expected to drop even further after the Fiji Bureau of Statistics revealed that the poverty levels in Fiji declined by 2.9 per cent for 2013-2014.

He said Fiji was on the cusp of becoming a very modern nation state.

"A household income survey that was carried out in 2013 and 2014 has revealed that poverty in Fiji has dropped in 2013 and 2014," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said the only way to make the nation great was for people to give 100 per cent.

"We expect that the poverty level figures for 2014, 2015 and indeed 2015-2016 will drop even further," he announced at the Water Authority of Fiji's awards night last Friday.

Responding to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum's statement, Opposition member and National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said he was surprised with the comments made by the Attorney-General.

Prof Prasad said more people were below the poverty line.

"I don't see any basis for his comments that the poverty level in this country is expected to decline. I'm not sure what basis he can say that he is expecting the poverty level to decrease in 2015-2016," he said.

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