A NEW report has urged the national government to address the uneven distribution of social services and public infrastructures across the country.
The Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) for 2012 – 2013 report was launched yesterday.
The report highlighted the uneven distribution of social services, public infrastructures, and household income and expenditure as major setbacks and a huge task for the governments to address.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma noted during the launch that the issue of uneven distribution of services is a serious one.
“I have glanced through the report and noted a number of interesting findings,” Mr Kuma said.
He said according to the report, the national population now stands at 615, 804 persons.
“Of these, about 19 percent of the population resided in urban areas while the remaining eighty-one percent lived in rural areas.
“Whilst this seems good on paper the reality of the widely dispersed islands will however continue to pose challenges to the fair distribution of government resources.
“In terms of household income and expenditure, the annual average household expenditure according to the report is $54,000 while the median household expenditure is estimated at $40,000,” Mr Kuma said.
“This gap between the average and median expenditure (or income) implies that certain households have relatively or extremely lower annual expenditures (or incomes) than the majority of the households.”
Mr Kuma added on rating of households in terms of earnings of the top 10 percent, the report found that the top 10 percent of all households earn more than a third (42 percent) of all income in the country and more than half (55 percent) of all cash-income in the country.
“Again, this uneven income distribution in our society is a serious concern for any government to address.
“It is also worth noting the usage of technology measured against the total population on that period which shows very little percentage use.
“Out of the total population of 615,804; only 4 percent use internet or only 3 percent of all households have access to internet at their homes.
“At this stage where information is vital, this disparity holds back growth and development.”
Mr Kuma said availability of this information represents a significant investment by the development partners.
“I would like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution made by the Australian Government, the World Bank and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).”
By BRADFORD THEONOMI