Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Pita Tagicakirewa, says that the implementation of the $100 monthly allowance for chiefs and Turaga Ni Koros has both advantages and disadvantages.
While this initiative has successfully filled numerous vacant titles, it has also led to an escalation in disputes among Turaga Ni Koros in certain districts regarding eligibility for the allowance.
Tagicakirewa says according to the data collected by iTaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission, over 200 vacant chiefly positions have been filled so far this year.
“About 51% of all the chiefly titles in Fiji, they are vacant. So 206, that’s a big achievement by the iTaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission. And it’s because of the awareness that they’ve now done. Targeted awareness in provinces, tikinas and villages with these high vacancy rate, they target those areas.”
Tagicakirewa says they had to create a lot of awareness to explain the roles of Turaga Ni Yavusa, Turaga Ni Mataqali and Turaga Ni Tokatoka.
PS for iTaukei Affairs, Pita Tagicakirewa
The PS says while the $100 allowance is one factor that may have boosted the filling of the vacant positions, it has created some problems within the Vanua.
“The other thing is that the allowance, it can be a double edged sword. It can hasten the feeling of the vacant posts. On the other hand, as we’ve heard in social media, it can also increase disputes amongst the Turaga Ni Koros on who is entitled to that allowance.”
The government has high hopes from these traditional leaders who will play a crucial role in decision making when it comes to sea, land and forest resources.