Business

Fiji Pine Group pays out $300k to landowning units

By LITIA MATHEWSELL An effort to secure the future of the pine industry saw Fiji Pine Limited make lease security bonus payments to 40 landowning units at the Lololo Pine
28 Feb 2014 11:12

By LITIA MATHEWSELL

An effort to secure the future of the pine industry saw Fiji Pine Limited make lease security bonus payments to 40 landowning units at the Lololo Pine Station yesterday.
A total of $300,000 was handed to various landowning clans from the Western Division.
These are for those whose land either has pine plantation on them or has 15 years of lease term left.
Fiji Pine Limited board executive chairman, Faiz Khan, said the initiative came about after they struggled to get leases renewed upon expiry.
He said many landowners were unwilling to renew their leases because of the lack of benefits they had received out of the pine industry.
Three years ago, the Lololo forest landowners from the Ba closed area agreed to a lease renewal for over 1000 acres of their land on a promise of change.
Mr Khan said yesterday’s payments were a part of that change in motion by delivering that promise.
“These payments are at $5 per hectare or denotes a 45 per cent bonus on the agreed ground rent amount per year, the total amount being paid at $300,000,” he said.
Mr Khan said this amount is expected to grow to $1 million from next year and even surpass that sum.
“The amount that was given will depend on the profitability of our business,” he said.
“It is a form of dividend- our profitability in turn depends on the ability to keep cost structures at efficient levels and continue to grow our business.”
Chief guest Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama lauded the initiative as a way to forge closer partnerships between the Fiji Pine Group and landowners.
The payment witnessed many happy faces, including that of Fiji Pine Trust’s Landowning Unit chairman, Semesa Pio Bolabola.
He thanked Fiji Pine and the Government for the assistance, saying part of the payment would go towards the education of children in Vitogo, Lautoka.

New canteen
Yesterday also witnessed the opening of the pine station’s new canteen facility.
Mr Khan said this was built in recognition of the hard work of all the employees of the Pine Group of Companies.
“They have worked tirelessly with me over the past years to bring about the positive and miraculous changed that we witness today in the industry,” he said.
The air-conditioned canteen also features shower and change rooms for employees.


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