No Free Land: Kumar

“The policy that is currently applicable for the lot allocation is 19 years old and was approved in the year 2001.
22 Nov 2020 10:50
No Free Land: Kumar
Minister for Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar. Photo: Shalveen Chand

No free land for people living in informal settlements once lots in the area are developed and lots will be offered at market prices.

Minister for Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar confirmed these were part of a new national housing policy for which public consultations start on November 26, 2020.

Ms Kumar said this change was long overdue and was crucial to establish a fairer system to assist those who were in the lower income bracket.

“The ministry is working on the upgrade and formalisation of several informal settlements and upon completion, 99-year leases will be issued to settlers within the upgraded settlements,” she said.

“The policy that is currently applicable for the lot allocation is 19 years old and was approved in the year 2001.

“The issues surrounding informal settlements have changed significantly since then and the efforts by some Fijians to manipulate the system are increasing every day. Hence, it is time to bring in new policies to solve current issues.”

Ms Kumar said the key areas that the new policy would address incude:

  • Entitlement for lots, price of lots,
  • Government subsidy levels
  • and restrictions on sale of subsidised lots.

Lots would be offered on market rates, however based on household income Government will provide subsidies.

“Apart from being a Fijian citizen and above the age of 18, it is also a requirement that you consistently live in the settlement that is being upgraded, in order to apply for a lot,” she said.

“This will obviously exclude cases where people have built houses in informal settlements for rental purposes.”

The four key areas that would be looked at include who gets the lots, the cost of the lot, the amount of Government subsidy and restriction on lots subsidised by the Government.

Three informal settlements are in the process of getting leases as development is about to end. With that in mind, the Ministry of Housing will have the new policy in place by mid December.

There are more than 250 informal settlements nationwide.

Submissions on the policy can also be made online through the Ministry of Housing website.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce




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