Dr Kumar: Nothing wrong with methodology

University of Fiji Associate Professor of Economics Dr Sunil Kumar in Nadi on Thursday, September 17, 2021. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

The methodology used by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics is internationally recognised and was reviewed by World Bank consultants, says Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Fiji, Dr Sunil Kumar.

He said as far as he knew, there was nothing wrong with the methodology used to ascertain the 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey.

“As an individual and a researcher, I am delighted that such data is available as disaggregated data can be very useful for policy,” he said.

“It provides necessary information on different groups to address the group related problems, whether it is of poverty, income, wealth, education or health.

“The report, for instance, informs the policymakers about poverty afflicted ethnic groups in different parts of the country. Government policy can be applied to address the problems.

“However, there is a philosophical problem about the release of this data, as the Minister puts it.

“But this may only be a matter of different perspectives, however, our bigger neighbours, Australia and New Zealand collect and disseminate ethnic and religion data publically.”

Dr Kumar said poverty data informed the government, the bureaucracy (Government Officials), politicians and the voters about the state of the social and economic welfare of the citizens.

“It gives clear information as to what nature and intensity of problems exist in the country.

“While faith-related data may not help in this, the ethnic data may help since ethnic groups do have clusters spread out geographically.

“I do not think the accuracy of this data is questionable. The sample size of 6000 (3 per cent of households) households staggered over 12 months is a standard approach for HIES data collection world over.

“This is a large enough sample to provide an accurate measure of expenditure, income and poverty.”

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