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Bonus payout

Manasa Kalouniviti
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

HOUSING Authority provides a very critical role in providing affordable housing to ordinary Fijians, says Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

"We have one of the lowest rates of homeownership and one of the lowest rates of home insurance in Fiji. Only 10 per cent of properties were insured when Cyclone Winston hit Fiji," he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum made the comment at Valelevu yesterday while announcing a bonus payout for the years 2015 and 2016 for Housing Authority's non-management staff totalling $350,272.02.

He also announced a pay increment for 26 high performing staff totalling $50,092.73.

"Government has expended $125 million in the Help for Homes initiative and some people are still getting their homes put together. We have a culture in Fiji where we think that only older people can own their first homes. We don't have a culture where we encourage people who are 23-24 years old to have their first homes. We must change that way of thinking," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said in order to do that we must make available to them a housing stock and there was not enough housing stock in Fiji.

"And that's the problem.

"One way to address this is to change our attitudes towards homeownership; another is we have to understand that once you own a home you increase your own wealth," he said.

He said many people still went to money lenders because they didn't have assets to enable them to access loans for family reasons from banks.

"Moneylenders interest rates are phenomenally high.

"So we actually get caught in a culture of debt without having any assets," the A-G said.

He said the solution to this was to ensure people had access to assets and one of the best ways was to buy a house which needed to be affordable.

Meanwhile, HA board member Nesbitt Hazelman said the last bonus payout for the authority was made back in 2008.

"And because of our major improvements in financial performance whereby we cut costs and controlled our cash flow we decided to pay this bonus which is based on the performance management system (PMS) we recently installed," Mr Hazelman said.

He said the bonus payout for 2015 and 2016 would be funded internally from the authority's own resources.

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