5 Apr 2006

Fiji's National Alliance party says the state should lease all indigenous land

12:23 pm on 5 April 2006

Fiji's National Alliance Party is proposing that the state lease all indigenous owned land and sub-lease it to tenants.

Radio Fiji says the party is promising to implement the plan if it wins next month's general election.

Senior National Alliance candidate and longtime former cabinet minister, Filipe Bole, says there is a need to increase the amount of land available for agriculture and this will require de-reserving a lot more indigenous land than what is on the market now.

Mr Bole says if the state takes a master lease of all indigenous land, this will not only increase the land rent for landowners but also assist those seeking to lease land.

Mr Bole says if the National Alliance is elected, it will ensure that the state takes the master lease and sub-leases it to tenants.

He says in this way the Native Lands Trust Board will have to deal with only one leasee - the state - instead of the thousands it is dealing with now.

The NLTB's general manager, Kalivati Bakani, says the concept of a master lease could be beneficial to all because the board would collect all rents up front and there will be no arrears.