Naiqama: Report an honest snapshot of poverty situation

Kemueli Naiqama. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FILE

The 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) was an honest, clear and realistic snapshot of the poverty situation in Fiji, says ousted Fiji Bureau of Statistics chief executive officer Kemueli Naiqama.

He released a statement following the wide debate on the release of the report.

He said the report was done in accordance with international standards. “I wish to set the record straight and clarify the issues relating to the publication of the HIES report so that Fiji can understand why this report was released for public consumption,” Mr Naiqama said.

He said the report was questioned after it was released on the Fiji Bureau of Statistics website, that prompted Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to release a statement in September.

He said the Fiji Bureau of Statistics was able to conduct the survey despite the 40 per cent reduction in its 2019-20 budgetary allocation.

“I commend the staff for their full commitment to their duty despite the lack of resources.

“In any survey by the statistics office, there are always two phases, first is the vigorous preparation phase and second is the implementation (data collection, analysis and reporting) phase.

Questions sent to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum remained unanswered when this edition went to press last night.

Meanwhile, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum on September 14, criticised the Fiji Bureau of Statistics for releasing the 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) with ethnic and religious data.

He said the Government challenged the reliability of the statistics.

“This is supposed to be the Fijian Bureau of Statistics, giving us accurate statistics, but such a basic thing they got wrong,” he said.

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