FIJI NEWS

Solutions for Squatters?

JosuA TUWERE SUVA Dealing with a squatter problem and providing affordable housing for people is a common thread amongst all political parties vying for the 2014 General Elections. Here’s an
06 Aug 2014 07:50

JosuA TUWERE
SUVA
Dealing with a squatter problem and providing affordable housing for people is a common thread amongst all political parties vying for the 2014 General Elections.
Here’s an overview of how they would address this:

Peoples Democratic Party
n Work with Housing Authority and Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) to review existing facilities available for first-time home owners
n Authorise assessment of previous Government gurantees to Housing Authority
n Reassess $10 million Government grant previously identified for HA now re-chanelled to commercial banks
nRe-examine Village Housing Scheme discontinued by current government
nReview of existing sale and purchase tax structure currently levied
nSecure land for resettlement of squatters and displaced persons
nSupport current housing initiatives to upgrade the living conditions of people in informal settlements.

Fiji Labour Party
n Redirect the operations of Housing Authority to develop affordable home ownership schemes for low-income families
n Labour would subsidise the cost of housing to the poor
n Labour’s Agricultural Estates are designed to address the increasing squatter problem by encouraging people to move to rural areas and take up farming on developed lots with subsidized housing.

National Federation Party
n NFP will review the urban development legislation to provide those living in squatter settlements with state support for basic facilities such as roads, water supply, electricity and sanitation
n NFP will review legislation to provide proper land division and titles for squatter families
n NFP will create a medium to long-term plan, which will aim to make land available for the settlement of poor families in the urban hinterland
n NFP will review the First Home Buyers Grant policy to assist low and middle income families buy their first home.

Social Democratic Liberal Party
nDirect the immediate audit and review of both the Housing Authority and the Public Rental Board
n Commission a national competition for builders and architects to submit low cost house and apartment designs
n Indentify different sources of housing finance
n Assist first time home owners
n Ensure availability of land for housing
n Set a target for the Housing Authority for at least 1000 accommodation units a year for low and middle income learners
n Assist the Housing Authority to keep interest rates affordable
n Review legislation governing access to housing assistance and funding for urban and peri-urban settlements
n All housing subdivisions must provide recreational parks
n Provide assistance for infrastructure development such as electricity, water supply and roads to new housing development areas

FirstFirst
In Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama’s 2014 Budget speech the following plans were made:
nContinued support for social housing policy (launched in 2011)
nAllocation of $1 million to Housing and Relief Trust
n$10 million support fund for first home owners (married couples)
For 2014, a total of $5 million has been provided for various squatter projects.
In 2014, upgrade of squatter settlements in the urban and peri-urban areas that lie within the Suva-Nausori Corridor, Nadi, the Lautoka Corridor, Labasa and Savusavu.
Alllocation of $1.5 million to the Public Rental Board (PRB) for the construction of 36 flats at Kalabu for low to middle income households. An allocation of $2.5 million is also provided under the PRB Savusavu Development Project for the construction of 50 flats in Savusavu.

Fiji United Freedom Party
nDevelop partnership scheme with businesses to build affordable homes for low-income families and offer tax concessions
nRestructure loan repayments to waive all arrears for Fijian home owners
nReduce city and town rates by half
nAssistance for rural dwellers to improve their homes

One Fiji Party
The party is expected to release their manifesto by this weekend revealing their plans for affordable housing.

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj




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