27 Aug 2003

Fiji NLTB proposes lump sums instead of annual rentals

10:20 am on 27 August 2003

Fiji's Native Lands Trust Board is considering a lump sum payment in place of annual rents for leased indigenous-owned lands.

The Fiji Times quotes the NLTB's general manager, Kalivati Bakani, as saying the option would benefit the tenants because they would not have to pay rent every year while the board would benefit because it would not have the problems of rent arrears.

Mr Bakani says management is still researching the option and their recommendations will go to the board when complete.

Meanwhile, political parties and representatives of farmers want to know full details and the economics of how tenants will make upfront payments for the renewal of leases instead of paying annual rents.

The National Federation Party leader, Prem Singh, says the NLTB should consider declaring some land freehold, to let go of its rental system and provide farmers who can afford it with a piece of land.

A Labour Party MP, Lekh Ram Vayashnoi, says the deal should not leave tenants insecure and the issue of displacement and evictions should not be repeated.