12 Aug 2016

Samoa makes progress in poverty and hardship - report

11:34 am on 12 August 2016

A report on Samoa's hardship and poverty has shown a remarkable progress in food and basic needs for people but macroeconomic and poverty trends have revealed warning signals.

The report is a collective effort of the Samoa Bureau of Statistics and the United Nations Development Project which has analysed the living standards of people in Samoa from the 2008 to the 2013/2014 Household Income and Expenditure survey.

UN Report

UN Report Photo: RNZI Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The report said public works and public employment programmes have proved effective safety nets in response to shocks and contributed to poverty reduction.

But most of the recipients of the income support were existing workers and those mainly from Apia.

It said this led to many people, particularly in the rural areas and with little or no marketable skills, to miss out on the opportunities and led to disparities.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP resident representative based in Samoa has also acknowledged the reduction of the incidence of basic needs poverty in the population from 26.9 percent in 2008 to 18.8 percent in 2013/2014.

But the report concludes the decline in the incidence of poverty was partially driven by the significant increase in government spending, which came at a very high fiscal cost as fiscal deficit and public debt increased.