International bodies call for Fiji action on the position of the government statistician

The International Statistical Institute (ISI) and the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) have written today to the Prime Minister of Fiji calling on him to act urgently to provide vindication of its actions to rebuild trust in Fiji statistics.

It follows from the decision of the Fiji government to arbitrarily terminate the employment of the Government Statistician of Fiji, Kemueli Naiqama, on 15 September 2021.

The ISI and IAOS say they are concerned that the government’s action is a breach of the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and would in many countries be seen as unconstitutional. They state: “It is the Government Statistician who guarantees to those outside the country that their trust in official statistics is well founded.”

Government terminated the contract of Naiqama last month stating he endorsed the publication of unverifiable information in the Housing Income and Expenditure Survey 2019-2020 relating to ethnicity and religion – data that was revealed to be extrapolated from erroneous sources and which exceeded the established scope of the survey’s data collection.

They said this was an unfortunate blow to the Bureau’s credibility.

The Government said that by exceeding the scope of data collection and ignoring fact-based methodology, Naiqama breached the terms of his contract with the Ministry.

Naiqama responded in a statement after his sacking saying the survey was an honest snapshot of Fiji’s poverty position.

Click here to view the ISI and IAOS letter to the PM

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