SUNBIZ

Non-resident Freehold Land Purchase Clarified

Government has stressed that non-residents will still be able to purchase freehold land/Crown land for tourism development purposes and/or industrial and commercial purposes. This is despite amendments in the Land
27 Nov 2014 12:46
Non-resident Freehold Land Purchase Clarified

Government has stressed that non-residents will still be able to purchase freehold land/Crown land for tourism development purposes and/or industrial and commercial purposes.

This is despite amendments in the Land Sales Act restricting non-residents from buying freehold land or Crown land for residential purposes.

The Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, clarified this last night. It came during the Post Budget Discussion in Suva jointly organised by the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Suva Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Fiji Australia Business Council.

“The idea is to save ownership of residential lots and it should be restricted to locals,” he said.

“But wherever there is tourism development etc taking place, and lots are being sold, there are exceptions.
“This is because we recognise that the value of attraction of the development is actually because the foreigners can own land.”

Value for iTaukei land
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stressed once again that 91 per cent of all land in Fiji is iTaukei land.

However, he stated, there appears to be absolutely no appetite for foreign investors, or local investors, to invest and take out lease for iTaukei land.

“They seem quite happy to take Crown Lease if not freehold, but not iTaukei land,” he said.

“What we need to tell is iTaukei land is just as secure as Crown lease because we have to be realistic about it.

“We have to ensure that the value of iTaukei land actually goes up because land owners themselves need to get returns.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said these are some fundamental socio-economic issues.

“If we are going to have prime freehold land or prime crown land basically owned by foreigners, or very wealthy locals, at the same time depriving the iTaukei land owners of the value of iTaukei land realise its full potential, it will create social problems,” he said.

Using Dubai as an example, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said 99.9 per cent of all land in Dubai is lease land but it is secured lease land.

“People (investors) don’t mind going there and investing because of the security. So we must aim to divert all foreign investment to iTaukei Land,” he stated.

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

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