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Affordable Housing Tops Jokhan’s Agenda

Better usage of land and an emphasis on strata-type home ownership can increase affordable housing options in Fiji, says FijiFirst party candidate Reginald Jokhan. Mr Jokhan says he will push
11 Nov 2018 12:16
Affordable Housing Tops Jokhan’s Agenda
FijiFirst candidate Reginald Jokhan. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

Better usage of land and an emphasis on strata-type home ownership can increase affordable housing options in Fiji, says FijiFirst party candidate Reginald Jokhan.

Mr Jokhan says he will push forward plans to improve affordable housing in the country if elected to Parliament.

The managing director of local real estate company, Jokhan Realtors, has been a realtor for more than 20 years.

Despite being new to politics, he is confident of securing a seat in Parliament after next week’s election.

There has been a lot of debate about affordable housing as political campaigns conclude and the country heads to the polls.

Mr Jokhan’s ideas for the housing market build on Government’s first home-owner grant initiative announced in the 2018/2019 National Budget.

He wants to create a package for standardised housing, so first-time buyers avoid the costs related to hiring engineers, architects and so on.

“For instance, you will purchase a one, two or three-bedroom package from Government, which will have all the details regarding a new house, including an engineer’s report, land area and so forth,” Mr Jokhan said.

“The package can directly be handed to the contractor and also used at the bank to get a loan.

“I’m talking about a proper blueprint that will streamline the process buying property and improve construction standards.”

Mr Jokhan believes more affordable housing options in the country will create incentives for people to remain in Fiji and bolster economic activity.

He plans to encourage more strata type ownership in urban areas, as well as for people living in informal settlements.

The strata plan will also be a focus in rural areas, the realtor says.

However, this plan has to be interlinked with the decentralisation of services from urban areas, including better public transport and infrastructure, he says.

Decentralisation is another part of Mr Jokhan’s election agenda to spark job creation and address Fiji’s rapid rural-to-urban drift.

“Housing is my area of expertise which I picked up from my father, who was a builder, many years ago. I want to offer that to the Fijian people,” he said.

The push for preserving affordable housing comes as the construction boom in Fiji has sent rent and property values soaring.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji’s October economic review has projected a pick-up in construction activity in the medium term.

“Affordable housing will build confidence in people to remain and invest in the country,” Mr Jokhan said.

“Decentralisation, which is already happening, will also lead to more commercial activity, giving the business community incentive to support it with investments.”

Building and sustaining confidence in the business sector, based on quality and compliance, is also part of Mr Jokhan’s plans.

“Local investors have been the backbone of our economy for many years,” he said.

“If you look at local investment, it is growing every day. That is a sign of the confidence the business community has in this Government and we must build on that.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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