Corruption allegations, poor service, tarnishes image

THE image of the Lands Ministry has been tarnished because of the allegation of corrupt practices and poor service delivery, says Minister for Land, Mineral Resources, Trade, Industry and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya.

Much of this, Mr Koya assured, had been accomplished through the ministry’s internal reforms.

Mr Koya was responding to questions from members of the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the chamber’s Breakfast Seminar at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday.

“We have strengthened our system and processes by improving our working platforms through legislative reviews and reviewing various policies and strengthening the application development promoting staff capacity building and undertaking internal organisational restructure exercise and finalising the ministry’s operational mandate after being piloted for a year,” he said.

And with that, he acknowledged the efforts of his predecessor Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

According to the chamber, this particular ministry is always a barrier to ease of doing business in Fiji and applications were either gathering dusts at the office or missing unintentionally.

Mr Koya assured these businesses that under his wing, he will make sure that all files or applications will be dealt within a week or so.

“These reforms were undertaken to elevate and improve management of land and mineral resources and at the same time strike the balance between the economic development and sustainable environment issues that we have.

“I’m entering this role with the strong will to improve the service for our customers and the ordinary people and investors alike.”

Given the extent and the nature of the resources administered by the ministry from lands to minerals to foreshore, he said it was important that the ministry strengthened its web of network within the Government and also outside to extend its implementation and monitoring arm.

Mr Koya said the ministry would continue from its preliminary work on the review of its relevant legislations and policies and formulation of the Land Valuation Act to regulate valuation practices and property market.

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