1 Mar 2006

Fiji indigenous land owner leader to meet financier over US$3.4bn bank proposal

4:16 pm on 1 March 2006

In Fiji, the chairman of the Viti Land and Resource Owners Association is meeting a foreign financier to discuss an offer of 3.4 billion US dollars towards a bank for indigenous Fijians.

Ratu Osea Gavidi says the money, promised by Dr Keith Scott of the Office of International Treasury Control, will be able to bring indigenous Fijians out of poverty.

Ratu Osea says the 200 middle-ranking chiefs won't have to make financial inputs themselves because the security will be the value of indigenous land.

"We are resource rich but cash poor and that's why we have dropped below the poverty line. Ninety per cent of our resource owners in the nation of Fiji, which is over 400,000 people are below the poverty line, in other words we are earning less than 100 dollars a week. It's time to change."

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says it's given the association a checklist of requirements to meet before it can agree to the creation of a new bank.