Fiji Bureau of Statistics CEO Kemueli Naiqama. [Image: Ministry of Rural Development/Twitter]
Fiji Bureau of Statistics CEO Kemueli Naiqama has been sacked.
A government statement now says that the Economy Ministry, through Acting Permanent Secretary Shiri Goundar, has terminated the contract of the CEO of the Fiji Bureau of Statistics for failure to comply with Article 5 of the Statistics Act 1961.
The statement said that, dealing an unfortunate blow to the credibility of the Bureau, Naiqama approved the publication of unverifiable information in the 2019-2020 Housing Income and Expenditure Survey relating to ethnicity and religion – of data which were found to be extrapolated from erroneous sources and which exceeded established values. scope of survey data collection.
He says that by going beyond the scope of data collection and ignoring the evidence-based methodology, Naiqama violated the terms of his contract with the ministry.
By virtue of his employment contract, Naiqama will receive all wages and rights accrued for the period up to September 15, 2021.
We received reports that some officials escorted Naiqama out of his office earlier this afternoon.
Calls made to his office were referred to the Ministry of the Economy.
Last night, Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum expressed serious concerns over ethnic and religious data released by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics as part of the 2019-2020 Income and household spending.
Sayed-Khaiyum said the CEO of Fiji’s Bureau of Statistics failed to act in accordance with government policy and the law.
The minister said there was a sample of 6,000 households out of 199,688 households, or 3 percent of the population. He says the question that needs to be asked is how the sample size was derived from the 6,000 households on the basis of ethnicity.
Sayed-Khaiyum says that the 2017 census data was used as a sampling frame although the 2017 census does not have reliable ethnic data, which makes these statistics unreliable.
The attorney general says the report is flawed.
We were unable to get any comments from Naiqama.
Under the Statistics Act 1961 which was updated in 2016, the Minister of Economy appoints the government statistician.
Article 5 of the law also provides that with the approval and on the instruction of the Minister responsible for the economy, the government statistician collects statistics relating to any question listed in the appendix to the law.
The Fiji Bureau of Statistics 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey confirms that 29.9% of Fijians, or about 258,000 people in 45,724 households, were living below the basic needs poverty line of 41 , $ 91 per adult equivalent per week.
This means that three in ten Fijians lived in poverty in 2019-2020, with rural poverty still being much higher than urban poverty.
According to the Bureau of Statistics, 160,450 people in rural areas live in absolute poverty while 97,602 people in urban areas live in absolute poverty.
The office said poverty was higher in rural areas, at 41.5 percent, than in urban areas, at 20.4 percent, with 62.2 percent of the poor living in rural areas.
Based on the office’s poverty estimates and distribution, 192,977 iTaukei, 58,933 Indo-Fijians and 6,143 of the rest of the population live in absolute poverty. This means that iTaukei made up 74.8% of people living in absolute poverty, Indo-Fijians 22.8% while other communities made up 2.4%. It was also revealed that 134,060 men and 123,992 women were living in absolute poverty when the survey was conducted from February 2019 to February of last year.
Rabuka calls GA explosions over Fiji Bureau of Statistics stupidThrough Vijay NarayanWednesday 15/09/2021
The leader of the Popular Alliance Party, Sitiveni Rabuka.
People’s Alliance Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka called the explosions by Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum stupid after Sayed-Khaiyum’s comments about Fiji’s Bureau of Statistics and its 2019-2020 survey of household income and expenditure.
Rabuka says Sayed-Khaiyum shouldn’t just blow people up every time information comes to light.
The former prime minister says it is sad that the government does not agree with the statistics made by its own people.
He also says it relates to how Fiji Bureau of Statistics CEO Kemueli Naiqama was sacked.
Fiji Bureau of Stats CEO sacking shameful, shameful and unethical – Chaudhry
FLP says no amount of wasteful statistical data will hide this reality
Through Vijay NarayanWednesday 15/09/2021
Fijian Labor Party, Mahendra Chaudhry.
Fijian Labor Party Mahendra Chaudhry says the situation is grim and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum should accept the truth and stop questioning the credibility of government departments when their reports do not match up with its political agenda.
Chaudhry says firing someone without giving Fiji Bureau of Statistics CEO Kemueli Naiqama the right to defend themselves is disgraceful, disgraceful and unethical.
Chaudhry says that by all standards, the 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey reveals the very dire socio-economic conditions in the country, more specifically in relation to the shocking social conditions of the indigenous Fijian community.
However, he says this data is already out of date.
He says the social distress and suffering of people is much more acute today than it was in 2019, before the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy and massive job losses. he triggered.
Chaudhry says Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum must accept the fact that the government, in control of national affairs for the past 14 years, has not only destroyed the economy, it has inflicted untold miseries on the people through its failed policies and mismanagement.
He says no amount of wasteful statistical data will hide this reality.
Chaudhry says that for too long government policy has been to mask the disparities that exist between different communities by refusing to release vital statistical data based on race.
He says the FLP thinks this is wrong because in a plural society comprising many different ethnic communities, it is essential that socio-economic data be available to show how government policies affect each group – whether they benefit or receive equitable share of the state. Resources.
Chaudhry says social justice and fair opportunities for all are an essential pillar of the principles on which the Labor Party is founded.
Gavoka tells GA and government to let Bureau of Statistics alone do its jobThrough Vijay NarayanWednesday 15/09/2021
Head of SODELPA, Viliame Gavoka.
SODELPA Chief Viliame Gavoka says hearing that Fiji Bureau of Statistics CEO Kemueli Naiqama was unceremoniously fired and escorted out of the premises for the Fiji Poverty Report speaks volumes about the type of democracy we have in Fiji.
Gavoka says SODELPA wants the Fiji Bureau of Statistics to be independent from any undue outside influence, especially from a government that has been promoting a boom that many knew was not true.
He says that the collection, compilation, analysis, abstraction and publication of statistical information relating to economic and general activities should be carried out without fear and SODELPA is telling the Attorney General and Fiji first, “do not do not touch “.
Gavoka says the truth be told because we don’t want to live in an illusion.
He says he is ashamed to hear the report that the CEO of the Bureau of Statistics was escorted out of his office.
The head of SODELPA says the Bureau of Statistics in Democracies is responsible for promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics that serve the common good.
He says he is independent from ministers and instead reports directly to Parliament.
Dismissal of CEO of Fiji Bureau of Statistics shows dictatorial and military style operation of government – Prof. PrasadThrough Shanil singhWednesday 15/09/2021
National Federation party leader Prof. Biman Prasad.
National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said the termination of the contract of the Director General of the Fiji Bureau and Statistics, Kemueli Naiqama, shows the dictatorial and military operation of the government.
Prasad says the government is removing the right people who he says are not doing what the government wants.
He said that Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s press conference to attack the office shows that they were not satisfied with the results because it looked bad for the government.
Prasad said the Bureau’s preliminary report released in February indicated that around 30% of the population lives in the poverty line, which has been accepted by the government.
Prasad also says that the Bureau has been carrying out this type of investigation for so many years.
He says they use the 3-4 percent sample, which is better than the sample size used in Australia and New Zealand.
Prasad adds that the only reason Sayed-Khaiyum is not happy with the report is that it is the reality on the ground and that it shows the government’s incompetence in dealing with poverty issues.