8 Feb 2007

Solomons minister hails Malaita land registration

2:07 pm on 8 February 2007

The registering of a block of customary land in Solomon Islands is a step forward for development of rural areas, according to the Finance Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo.

23 tribal groups at Auluta in East Malaita have reached a consensus on the boundaries marking their land which will shortly be surveyed and registered as part of plans to set up a palm oil project.

Once customary land is legally recognised, Mr Lilo says it will be able to be used as collateral and landowners can go to the bank to ask for development capital.

The Finance Minister says the trustee system that has been in place for the management of customary land has had issues so the government is now moving in a different direction.

"We've decided that maybe the best way to go is really to put it under the hands of the tribes. So, it will be the tribes that will be recognised as owners of the land and people will co-operate to contribute towards putting in place an effective management to run the business on the land that is recognised by law as theirs and that it can be recognised by the financial institutions as collateral.''"

The Finance Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo.