TLTB clarifies lease renewal process amidst complaints

March 8, 2024 7:15 am

[File Photo]

The iTaukei Land Trust Board has clarified its position regarding the renewal of leases, emphasizing its commitment to following due process and procedures as stipulated in the iTaukei Land Trust Act.

There have been complaints from sugarcane farmers in Coqeloa, Labasa, suggesting that TLTB is distributing lease application forms to expiring agricultural leaseholders to apply for residential lease blocks as TLTB will not renew.

While responding to queries from FBC news on these claims, Interim Chief Executive Solomoni Nata states that TLTB officials were simply carrying out their duties in advising tenants of proper ways to formalize occupations by having individual leases.

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Nata clarifies that in fact, some farmers in Coqeloa have three or four houses built on their farmland, which is a breach of the lease condition.

He stresses that the TLTB staff are advising the farmers that they can apply for a proper residential lease instead of breaching the lease condition by having more than two residential houses on their agricultural lots.

Nata says the complaints directed towards TLTB officers are deemed inaccurate and possibly misinterpreted or distorted for personal gain.

These farmers had raised concerns to Sugar Industry Minister Charan Jeath Singh during a meeting in Coqeloa last week.

The interim CEO also says that it has come to their attention that some individuals in Vanua Levu are advocating for farmers’ interests, including a case involving certain individuals acting as a middlemen for farmers’ renewal applications.

He says complaints regarding this issue have been reported by tenants in Labasa.

Nata says TLTB’s decisions are made in the best interests of all parties involved and the sustainable development of land for the benefit of all.

He says they are committed to providing security and value to leaseholders through long-term leases, ensuring the security of their residence and the long-term value of the land, benefiting both leaseholders and landowners.

Nata is urging all stakeholders to focus on the facts and refrain from bringing political or personal agendas into discussions.