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Analysis : Land Bank Concept A Win-Win Situation

Analysis : Land Bank Concept A Win-Win Situation
Local Government Minister Parveen Bala with Opposition MP, Niko Nawaikula outside Parliament on April 18, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
April 19
11:45 2018

There continues to be efforts to create a perception in the Op­position ranks that the Land Bank has taken away the owner­ship rights of the iTaukei landown­ers.

It came as no surprise on Tues­day in Parliament that Op­position SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula regurgitated what he had said before on the issue.

In 2017, he claimed that the Land Bank had taken away the ownership rights of the iTaukei people.

This time, he claimed, Govern­ment had tried “to annihilate” the rights of a particular ethnic group, the indigenous Fijians.

The FACT is that the ownership remains with the iTaukei landown­ers.

The other salient point is that at least 60 per cent of the landowners must agree before the rest of the processes take place.

After the landowners have given their approval, the Prime Minister then designates the particular land before it finally goes to the Land Bank.

The landowners do not incur any administration fee like they do with the iTaukei Land Trust Board.

The TLTB takes its cut after it collects the lease money from ten­ants and gives the remainder to the landowners.

The revenue pays for the TLTB ad­ministration

This is why landowners who lease their land to the Land Bank will re­ceive more money than those who would prefer to stay with TLTB.

One of the reasons why the Land Bank was set up was to enable iTaukei landowners to allow Gov­ernment to use their property for development purposes and on-lease it at market rates.

Potential investors and farmers can sub-lease or lease land from the State for a period of up to 99 years from the Land Bank.

The Land Bank, officially known as the Land Use Unit, was set up under the Land Use Decree 2010.

The unit will only use land that has been designated by titled land­owners, from whom consent will have to be obtained.

It eliminates the delays and the frustration of having to wait for long periods to get lease approval.

The delays adversely affect eco­nomic development.

The Land Bank was established under the Government’s Land Re­form Initiative.

It addresses the needs in the Land Use decree 2010.

There was concern that land was lying idle and it had huge economic potential.

The Land Bank is a vehicle where these resources could be developed for commercial purposes.

It will encourage investment and create jobs.

It is a win-win situation for all with the landowners getting a bet­ter return for their land.

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