Archbishop apologises for mistakes but poverty still a concern


The archbishop of Fiji has admitted he had made some mistakes in the statistics he used in his recent statement.

The figures were quoted in the church’s newsletter, The Proclaimer, in the main article titled “Pre-election homily reflection on economic justice.”

“My sincere apologies, my statistics on poverty and VAT was based on Warden Narsey’s study on Poverty in 2008 and therefore it is out of date,” said Archbishop Peter Loy Chong on Facebook.

“VAT was reduced to 9 percent in 2016 and poverty according to United Stations Development Programme 2014 has declined, but remains a concern.”

An article published in the Fiji Sun Online on October 12  says the Archbishop’s statement contained “wildly inaccurate information.”

And, “While an apology has since been issued, the record must be fully corrected.”

Making use of  information provided by the Office of the Attorney General, the writer states:

  • Poverty is declining in Fiji
  • The gap between the rich and the disadvantaged is decreasing
  • Fiji’s human development status is at a record high

The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said: “It is unfortunate that the archbishop has chosen to make comments in perhaps areas that are not his expertise, using outdated figures.”

The household income and expenditure survey,  Sayed-Khaiyum said, was the only authoritative source that measured poverty statistics in Fiji which was available from 2013-2014.

Rural poverty in Fiji, he said, had decreased by 43 percent in 2008 to 2009 and 36.7 percent in 2013 to 2014.

Sayed-Khaiyum said urban poverty had also decreased by 28 percent in 2002 to 2003 and 19.8 percent in 2013 to 2014.

He said claims that tax reforms were benefitting the wealthy in Fiji were false.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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