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Fiji Time: 10:43 AM on Friday 25 April

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Populace in poverty

Nanise Loanakadavu
Thursday, November 15, 2012

MORE than 50 per cent of the poor in Fiji reside in the three provinces of Ra, Cakaudrove and Macuata.

This was revealed by the Ministry for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Govind Sami.

He said a poverty survey by the ministry also revealed an overwhelming majority of the poor resided in Ba, the most populous province in Fiji with 83,579 people classified as poor living in this area.

Using statistics provided by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, the report found that 43 per cent of people in rural areas were living in poverty.

This is a major difference from urban areas that had a much lower rate at 18 per cent.

Mr Sami said even within better-off divisions such as the Western or Central divisions, there were pockets of very high poverty incidence.

He said the highest poverty rates were found in the remote inland areas of Viti Levu.

Mr Sami said the ministry was looking at policy options such as Towards a Poverty Benefit, Old Age Social Pension (aligned to the National Ageing Policy) and Child Benefit (aligned to the Convention on the Rights of the Child) to be incorporated in their plans to combat poverty in Fiji.

He said the ministry was looking at reforms and other new policies to address the issue of rural poverty.