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Analysis: iTaukei No Longer Asset Rich, Cash-Poor

Landowners must make the most of the $10million set aside for iTaukei landowning units to develop their lands. This FijiFirst initiative was first announced in 2014 when the party had
19 Jun 2018 11:16
Analysis: iTaukei No Longer Asset Rich, Cash-Poor

Landowners must make the most of the $10million set aside for iTaukei landowning units to develop their lands.

This FijiFirst initiative was first announced in 2014 when the party had launched its previous manifesto. It was launched in 2015.

Since then, many members of landowning units have made the most of this. Five more were announced by the acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum recently.

Why is this initiative important? This gives the landowning units the capital to invest in and develop their land.

A developed land will be leased at a higher rate compared to an undeveloped one.

While land has always been used as a political football, there wasn’t any concrete assistance towards the landowning units, which allowed them to become developers themselves.

This initiative encourages landowners to get into the business of being landlords while reaping direct commercial benefits from their land.

This funding is made available as a grant to assist landowners to meet development costs, such as the provision of electricity, water and roads.

This initiative will not only empower the iTaukei, but will also contribute to national economic development as well.

And, it is heartening to see that the iTaukei landowners are reaching out and ticking all the boxes which allows them to access this grant.

Since the launch of the initiative in 2015, five other developments in Vuda, Wairabetia, Saweni, Yadua and Tailevu have already received development funding, and are nearing completion across the country.

A common woe of the iTaukei landowners that Opposition has mentioned too many times inside and outside of Parliament is that while they are asset rich, they have been cash-poor.

Does this hold true today. Not really. There are means available through which not just the current generation, but future generations of landowning units will benefit.

No other political party has talked about whether they will continue with this initiative or whether they will stop this completely or what they have to offer to Taukei landowners.

It is time they start highlighting what their policies on land development will be.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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