THE Ministry of Local Government plans to focus more on rural development around the country in 2013 with urban development expected to take a back seat.
Minister for Local Government and Housing Colonel Samuela Saumatua said the plan for this year was to focus more on rural development like the Maumi Village project, launched in December last year.
Col. Saumatua said they hoped to move development from the urban to rural areas in the hopes of reducing the rural to urban drift responsible for the increasing number of squatter settlements in the country.
He said most projects under the local government ministry would commence this year, especially the Maumi project in tailevu.
"It is important for us to focus on rural development because a lot of people are now residing in villages and they need the best service possible in terms of infrastructure development," he said.
"Squatter settlements are issues that are hard to control but if we carry out a lot of rural developments it can surely reduce our squatter problems."
Housing Director Kolinio Bola said they had rural projects like the Lomaivuna Integrated Agriculture Rehabilitation project and Sustainable Housing Income Generation projects like the Nalotawa and the Nativi housing projects.
Mr Bola said the Nalotawa and Nativi projects cost about $100,000 each and would benefit more than 200 families in the rural areas.