NATION

Big West Land Move

An iTaukei cou­ple in Vuda are now closer to securing their family's future after becoming recipients of Government's iTaukei Land Development Grant.
19 May 2022 16:19
Big West Land Move
Commissioner Western Mesake Ledua (left), Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (fourth from left), landowning unit couple Makelesi Dibau Davelevu (fifth from left), and Josefa Uluivuda (sixth from left), Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (seventh from left), with stakeholders and guests during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Vuda Subdivision on May 18, 2022. Photo: DEPTFO News

An iTaukei cou­ple in Vuda are now closer to securing their family’s future after becoming recipients of Government’s iTaukei Land Development Grant.

The landowning couple, Makelesi Dibau Davelevu, 47, and her husband her husband, Josefa Uluivuda, 46, including their three chil­dren, Salanieta Joy Ranadi, 18, Viliame Jacob Uluivuda, 17 and Joshua Sela, 11 were filled with excitement yesterday.

This was after the Prime Min­ister, Voreqe Bainimarama, of­ficiated at the ground-breaking ceremony of the iTaukei Land Development Grant in Vuda, Lautoka, yesterday. The Attor­ney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was also present at the event.

The site is the second subdi­vision project in Vuda and the sixth project in the country.

The total cost for the project amounts to about $616,000.

Government allocated $10 mil­lion under the iTaukei Land De­velopment Grant.

The undertaking is proof to Mr Bainimarama’s statement saying: “We are one step closer to ending the notion of the iTaukei people being “asset rich and cash poor.”

The couple owns about four acres of land and through the Government grant, work has begun in terms of subdividing the land into 15 residential lots.

Ms Davelevu said the first time they had leased the land, they did not have the funds to carry on and that was when they sought the assistance from Gov­ernment.

“The thing is we did not have any money to develop it,” she said.

“We had to find the source and the first opportunity that came to us was Government offering us the grant.

“They told us about the re­quirements, we had to apply and this is what it is. I am excited about it very much.

“For now, we can’t give any fig­ures on the total cost of selling each residential lot because we need to work with Government, in regards to valuing the land after the development.”

Supporting family

Mr Uluivuda said he waited eight years for this day.

He said it was all through pa­tience and hard work that got him and his family to success­fully begin the project.

“I am so lucky to be one of the many landowners to be chosen and handed the grant,” he said.

“I thank the PM and his Gov­ernment for that.”

In his address, Mr Bainimara­ma said it was through the rati­fication of the country’s Consti­tution in 2013, which introduced the powerful protection of all iTaukei land.

He said Government would continue to deliver for all Fiji­ans.

Since 2015 the PM said Gov­ernment had completed works on the first subdivision project in Vuda including projects in Yadua and Nasoqela where lots would be leased out and rentals would also be paid.

Mr Bainimarama said land­owners would also benefit where every completed project would add on to strengthening Fiji’s economy.

“Given the strength of the commercial case for subdivid­ing and leasing out land, Gov­ernment decided we would help communities and ambitious individuals to unlock the capi­tal they needed to develop their land and then get the right rent­al paid for it.

“And once that was done, we’d get out of the way and leave landowners with benefits that will pay out for generations.”

More land to be developed

Meanwhile, Mr Sayed-Khai­yum said there would be more land development in the West­ern Division, particularly along the Nadi-Lautoka corridor.

He said of all the developments that were approved and still ten­dered in the pipeline, eight of the applications were landown­ers from the Western Division.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum reiterated that iTaukei land was secured under the Constitution.

Some of the areas that would see future land development that would benefit the landown­ers include Wairabetia, Saweni as well as in Vuda.

He told the landowners they had the ability to ensure that the Fijian economy continued to grow.

“In Wairabetia we’re doing this subdivision that’s in tune of over $1.5 million, there’s 17 resi­dential lots. What we’re doing in Wairabetia and in Saweni, the project was completed but what we’re doing is trying to make it climate resilient,” said the A-G.

“So, all the overhead cables electricity, we’re putting it un­derground so next time there’s a cyclone, there’s nothing to blow down, everything’s under­ground.

“We’re putting in streetlights, we’re putting in footpaths in Saweni, the Patina Property In­vestments Limited. It’s costing us over $2 million and there are about 34 residential lots there.

“Vuda one, an amazing prop­erty right on the escarpment on top is more of a lifestyle block, eight residential lots costing us over half a million dollars.

“Yadua and Namara Trust, there are 13 residential lots cost­ing about $2.7 million.”

He said Nasoqela in Tailevu as well, there were 15 residential lots and one commercial lot val­ued at $2.8m.

Ensure lots are sold

The A-G added that Govern­ment would ensure that the landowners sold the lots for the correct price.

Feedbacks: nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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