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The issuance of eight (8) 50 yrs. residential leases to informal settlers in Matavuralevu and Wainidova settlements on the outskirts of Navua town reflects government’s determination to improve economic condition of people in the rural communities.

Divisional Commissioner Central, Laisenia Tuitubou said that the issuance of these land leases is necessary as it opens up investment and development in the rural communities.

“Land being the most valuable, imperishable possession from which people derive their economic independence, social status and a mode permanent means of livelihood needs to be unlocked and be made available for productive use,” Mr Tuitubou added.

Mr Tuitubou added the need to issue proper land lease titles emanates from an investment plan in which an investor bought the piece of land in which these families were residing on.

While the initial discussions was difficult and a complicated issue as it involves resettling people, Mr Tuitubou said it is necessary given that investment and growth needs to be realised.

“We cannot chase the investor away and at the same time we also need to look at the welfare of these families.
“It was rather a difficult issue – but we know we have to do it to allow investment and growth and at the same time open up new areas to promote rural development in the country,” Mr Tuitubou added.

Mr Tuitubou also acknowledged the landowners of Wainiyabia in partnering with Government providing unutilised land to be leased. He also reiterated that the leases issued to these families will provide them security.
The ten (10) acre residential subdivision will now be a new home to the seven (7) families in Matavuralevu.

“These leases will provide a sense of belonging and also act as a security to these families and their livelihood.
“Fiji, being a dominantly agricultural society with a strong link between land, social status and rural development, the titles issued to these families will take away the fear of landless and at the same time create a sense of belonging to their loved ones,” Mr Tuitubou emphasized.

For those families receiving the land lease title, it was a blessing as it assures them of their identity, dignity and at the same time creates a condition and opportunities for realising social equality.
“It also assured them possession and equitable distribution of land as a lasting source for peace and prosperity which will pave the way for economic and social justice,” Mr Tuitubou added.

35 year old Wahid Dean one of the lease recipients said the lease title will enable him build a new and better home for his family.
“It means a lot to my family. Now, I can say that we are the rightful owner of the land. Previously, we were staying on someone else’s land.
“I look forward in building a new home for my family,” Mr Dean proudly said.

A similar sentiment was shared by Sanil Prasad who acknowledged Government assistance.
“I thank the Government for helping us. I am very happy as I have a piece of land that I can build my home that is more secured,” Mr Prasad said with a smile.