Vio Is residents urged to pay land rent arrears

Minister for Land and Mineral Resources Ashneel Sudhakar. Picture: FT FILE

RESIDENTS of Vio Island near Lautoka have been urged to pay about $7900 in substantive land rent arrears by Lands and Mineral Resources Minister Ashneel Sudhakar.

He said a request by the residents to waive the outstanding amount could not be facilitated.

“They have a group lease and not an individual lease,” Mr Sudhakar said.

“Government had given them that lease to stay on the island, but over the years they had accumulated more than $10,000 of lease arrears including interest.

“So last year, during the amnesty period, Government decided to waive the interest which was more than $2000 so their rent lease is now about $7900.”

He said the residents had requested for further reduction during an informal discussion with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last week.

“The residents made a submission to the PM for a waiver on that land rent, but by law, everyone has to pay the substantive rent. We can waive the interest under special circumstances, but the substantive rent has to be paid by the residents.

“It would be unfair to waive it for one community and not for others.

“They can pay it by organising some kind of collection within their community and pay off their rent just like every other lessee on State land. So again by law, we can’t waive the substantive rent because there are a lot of other people who are also with arrears.

“We have to hold somebody accountable and that is State money that we collect in order to carry out our services.”

More Stories