Landowners’ welfare remains a priority for government

May 11, 2022 5:45 am

Fiji Land. [File Photo]

More than three million dollars has been paid by the government as lease rental to landowners from 2017 to 2021, while the stumpage paid during the same period was more than one million dollars.

The Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says the needs of landowners remains a priority.

“Under this man’s leadership and Prime Minister, the landowners get 80% of the royalties that normally go to the state—we are paying the landowners.”

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SODELPA MP Mitieli Bulanauca claims this is not true.

“I’m quoting from the decree-Mahogany Decree which specifically states that timber sales proceeds are paid to the landowners-no single cent has been paid. I’m not talking about rent, I’m not talking about anything else but timber sales proceeds.”

The Economy Minister says there is a legal arrangement to ensure that landowners share the proceeds once Fiji Hardwood Corporation Ltd is able to pay back all its debt.

“This has never happened before. There was never a clear legal directive to do so. Everybody knows that in the same way that people have been talking about for decades in this country.”

The government states they’re committed to helping iTaukei landowners through direct benefits from the development of their land.