6 Mar 2003

Report on poverty in Fiji critical of government measures

5:57 pm on 6 March 2003

A report on poverty in Fiji says the problem has been created by greed and there is no serious political will to tackle its root causes.

The study was conducted by the Ecumenical Council for Research and Advocacy for the World Council of Churches and has been published in a book called, " Christianity, Poverty and Wealth at the Start of the 21st Century"

The study found that poverty increased by 29 percent in Fiji between 1991 and 1998.

It says 25 percent of the population live below the poverty line while another 25% live close to the figure.

The report says the government's Family Assistance Scheme targets only the worst cases of destitution and pays between 15 and 60 US dollars a month to about 18-thousand recipients.

It says this allowance is grossly inadequate to meet basic needs and may need to include broader categories of the poor, irrespective of race and gender.

The report says the type of economic policies pursued by the Fiji government have already shown in other parts of the world that they make the rich richer and the poor poorer, and it cannot be otherwise in Fiji.