NATION

Singh Grateful To Be Refunded

The 61-year-old man who is now an amputee was one of the recipients that had given their hard-earned money to the People’s Community Network (PCN) in 2015, in the hope of a flat for his family in the new Lagilagi Hous­ing project.
02 Jul 2022 20:00
Singh Grateful To Be Refunded
Virendra Singh with granddaughter, Olive Singh, at their home in Jittu Estate, Samabula on June 1, 2022. Photo: Inoke Rabonu

Virendra Singh is a happy man.

The 61-year-old man who is now an amputee was one of the recipients that had given their hard-earned money to the People’s Community Network (PCN) in 2015, in the hope of a flat for his family in the new Lagilagi Hous­ing project.

When the deal did not eventu­ate, he thought all hope was lost when the money he paid was not refunded.

However, all this changed when he was one of the first 79 recipi­ents that were refunded their money by the Fijian Government in the past week.

According to the Ministry of Housing and Community Develop­ment, payments of over six hun­dred thousand dollars have been paid under this scheme to date.

Out of these, a total of 340 appli­cants who had submitted all docu­mentation including their signed housing agreements with PCN are being prioritised for payment

These refunds were paid through the Fijian Government initiative announced in the 2021/2022 re­vised National Budget, where the Government committed to desig­nate $2.27 million for the refund scheme.

“I had paid more than $1000 cash to secure a flat back in 2015 or 2016, and that money was from the many sacrifices I had to make for my family and my children just so we could have a flat and a proper house to live in,” he said.

“I had paid $1000 in down pay­ment and was paying other amounts little by little where I was getting receipts that were un­stamped.

“We were really conned by those that were running the show and we thought we wouldn’t be able to get a refund back.

“We thank the government for thinking of us and ensuring that we get the refunds because we re­ally worked hard to get that money to support our loved ones.”

He said though he had been given a refund, he is still hopeful that they would one day have access to a flat just as they were promised.

“My wife had applied for the re­fund when it was announced and luckily, we kept the receipts and the evidence of payment.

“So I was eligible and they re­funded back the money.”

Explaining the approval process and the challenges faced in vetting applications, the Permanent Sec­retary for the Ministry of Hous­ing and Community Development, Sanjeeva Perera, said that the Ministry was currently prioritis­ing those applicants who had sub­mitted signed housing agreements with PCN, together with all other requirements.

He also explained that those ap­plicants who have submitted all le­gitimate receipt copies but do not have housing agreements will be considered in the next round.

The Fijian Government grant­ed PCN over $12 million with a land lease of 99 years to build 153 homes, a community hall and a kindergarten.

The Ministry is simultaneously working closely with the Direc­tor of Lands in claiming back the lease issued to PCN for the Lagilagi Housing Project so that the project could be completed to its intended expectations and strata titles be issued to legitimate households.

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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