GREATER budget allocations should be given to rural preschools to help reduce poverty in rural communities.
This is one of several recommendations by independent economist Prof Wadan Narsey from the book he produced Poverty in Fiji: Changes 2002-03 to 3008-09 and Policy Implications.
Prof Narsey said 71 per cent of the poverty alleviation should go to the rural sector, with a good sum of the budget given to rural preschools.
He said an investigation of the causes of poor academic performance that result in school dropouts arise from poor preschool education.
Prof Narsey said tertiary training institutions needed to be encouraged to increase the output of skills in demand in the international labour markets and that trainees recognised they also needed to share the costs of their training, which would be generously rewarded by higher incomes abroad.
His health recommendations include a ban on advertising of non-nutritious snack foods on radio and television, health taxes on nutritionally-poor quality foods, some form of health insurance for the poorest households, and campaigns to discourage excessive consumption of yaqona at gatherings.
Prof Narsey also emphasised the importance of female gainful employment for money as an important part of poverty reduction strategies, a government investigation of duty policies to encourage poor households to purchase basic washing machines to reduce the burden on women, and a campaign to encourage the poorest households to prioritise the purchase of computers rather than less necessary household assets.
"The affirmative action policies should not be hand-outs but reward Fijian entrepreneurship," Prof Narsey said.
He also emphasised the multidimensional nature of poverty and the need to examine it from all perspectives, including productive employment, food security, education and health.