NATION

Bala Urges Tenants To Acquire Lots

Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment, and Infrastructure & Transport, Parveen Bala has urged tenants living in Public Rental Board units to take a step further and own their own
15 Jun 2018 10:00
Bala Urges Tenants To Acquire Lots
Mr Parveen Bala does the groundbreaking ceremony at Simla in Lautoka on June 14, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News

Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment, and Infrastructure & Transport, Parveen Bala has urged tenants living in Public Rental Board units to take a step further and own their own houses and land.

He made the suggestion, adding PRB tenants would get the first chance to buy these lots once they were ready.

Mr Bala was in Lautoka yesterday, officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony for PRB’s $3.6 million Simla Low Cost Housing Project that would see 36 new rental units ready for occupation within a year.

He said this showed the commitment by the FijiFirst Government in providing quality housing to all Fijians by 2020.

For tenants living in the PRB flats at Simla, Mr Bala assured them that work would also start soon on upgrading the buildings which have been there for many years.

“Thirty six families will join thousands of others from around Fiji who have benefitted from Government housing programmes,” Mr Bala said.

“This has been the multiple product and service in the home provision sector through the PRB and Housing Authority.

“The reason why we have housing problems now is that past governments have failed in providing affordable housing – that’s a fact.

“If that would have happened, we would not be facing these problems today.

“It’s not here in Lautoka, but throughout the country in the last six to seven years that the Government has been focusing on housing.”

He said this was also being done in the Central Division and targeted the poor people.

“The idea of having PRB units is to gradually go into the HA lots,” Mr Bala said.

“What we have observed is that those who are in the PRB rental units are not thinking ahead and that wherever they are in is good for them.

“But, maybe before HA did not have any stock, in terms of land, and I don’t blame you.

“We are doing a new subdivision at Tavakubu and for those who are residing here and want to have a land for your family and have your own house, please go and register with HA.”

He said the lots would be affordable and those who wished could access Government’s grant for first home owners of $10,000.

He said this was the reason for the formation of PRB and HA where it was meant for gradual movement from PRB to the latter.

“We will give first priority to the tenants residing here at the PRB flats,” Mr Bala said.

“The new Simla project will be given some sense of privacy and security and a social and uplifting place they can call home.”

Mr Bala stressed the new homes would be of high quality, but at a low cost and would be a far cry from the previous ‘low cost’ housing built years ago.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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