MINISTER KUMAR MEETS WITH COMMUNITIES IN THE WEST

Means tests will be conducted to determine the financial circumstances of residents whose settlements are being formalised into proper subdivisions.

Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Hon. Premila Kumar met with residents of Lovu, Tomuka and Delaisaweni in Lautoka and noted that the means test would assist them to determine eligibility for receiving leases.

“In other subdivisions, people rent out houses and own properties outside of that settlement, while having a home in the settlement for free,” Minister Kumar said in Lovu.

“It shows the greed of some people. A means will be conducted to determine who really needs houses, so that people who really need a place do get a place. And this is to not encourage land-grabbing.”

The Fijian Government has acquired a development lease in Lovu and completed a scheme plan, with houses in the development lease numbered.

“If your homes have numbers on them, you no longer need to make rental payments to the iTaukei Land Trust Board or landowners, because your homes come under the development lease acquired by the Government in 2017. However if you owed payments prior to this and are in arrears, you still need to clear these off,” she reminded residents.

The Ministry will also be liaising with the TLTB to determine homes that sit on reserved Native land, and thus are not included in the development lease, in these settlements.

Minister Kumar noted that while it was the residents themselves who built homes on reserved land, it was not cost-effective to have a subdivision that did not include all residents in the settlement.

“We don’t want to leave anyone behind,” she said.

Residents of Nabare and Korovuto in Nadi, and Cuvu, Sigatoka are also meeting with the Minister. The Government has acquired 43 development leases out of some 250 informal settlements around the country.