This is not true The bill will undermine the arrangement with landowners

Fiji Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says it is not true that the Informal Settlement Development Bill will somehow undermine the vakavanua agreement with the people who live on their land.

“It’s complete nonsense,” he told parliament last week during the debate on the 2021-2022 finance bill.

He said the development lease signifies an agreement signed by TLTB with the lessee regarding the iTaukei lands for the purpose of developing the iTaukei lands.

He said the only way the iTaukei Land Trust board could grant a development lease to the state was if at least 60% of the landowners accepted it.

“All these neighborhoods where people lived vakavanua arrangement for 30 to 50 years, landowners don’t get enough money, it’s prime land in some places,” he said.

“What we’re saying, ‘we’re starting to pay the development lease.’

“The landowners agree, at least, 60%, yes OK you can develop that, 60% agree, then we start paying the development lease on an annual basis.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said people who squat don’t pay anything, but the landowners get money from the government.

“What this particular law does is that if it is a lease from the state or if a state has leased the land, we should be able to ensure that people who want their land receive 99-year leases they need to move in should the need be.

“As we all know, squatters don’t build houses in a straight line, they build everywhere.

“How can you develop the road if a gentleman decides not to move his house?”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum told Caubati that a development project had been stalled for four to five years because three people did not want to move.

“So the road cannot be built there.

“There was little space between the houses, roads cannot be built.

“How can we have a good development? The state pays for this and everyone who lives in the squatter area will be assured of a title, whether it is a condominium title or a land title.

“That is precisely what this law does.”


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