Tall claims

FELIX murillo, chief of the Peruvian National Statistical Institute, has claimed a reduction of 8 per cent in poverty, as revealed by official surveys of standards of living between 1991 and 1994.

Statistics from other sources -- including the World Bank -- say that more than 12 million Peruvians (65 per cent of the population) live in poverty. But Murillo points out that reduction in national poverty levels is evident from the fact that nearly 2 million people have recently got drinking water connections and 1.6 million have received electricity connections.

Peruvians disagree: they believe that before claiming dramatic reductions in poverty levels, issues of health, education and employment need to be addressed. "I don't know how the officials measure these things, but from what I've seen the living conditions of the population have fallen," says Emperatriz Medina, executive secretary in an American firm.(ips)