$20m in land rental dues

Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands & Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya at Parliament on Monday. Picture: RAMA

MORE than $20 million in land rental arrears is owed to Government as at February 2.

This was revealed in Parliament by Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya in a ministerial statement on Monday.

He said for the past 10 years, the ministry had been collecting average rental arrears of $13 million per annum.

This, he said, had been an exemplary record in comparison with previous governments’ standing.

“The rental arrears as at February 2, 2018 stood at $23,755,645.65,” Mr Koya said. “Currently, there is a six months ‘waiver of interest’ period, from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018, to allow state land lessees to pay their arrears with interest fee.

“The ministry does not have a taskforce team, but a unit with three project officers who have been working tirelessly on the ground to consult, remind and discuss rental dues with respective state land lessees.”

Meanwhile, Mr Koya also confirmed the ministry had issued 130 foreshore leases in the past six months.

He said foreshore tourism leases generated millions of dollars to Fiji’s economy.

“The foreshore leases have benefited traditional fishing rights owners through annual payments of quantum loss of traditional fishing rights while creating employment opportunities for the local communities.”