The first local subdivision by indigenous landowners was officially launched in Natogadravu, in the province of Tailevu yesterday.
Senibua Place offers 51 residential lots, a commercial supermarket lot and recreational parkland, and is a self-managed project of Tui Nabou Development and Construction Limited. Measuring 805m2 -1.336m2, the lots are priced from $40,000 to $75,000, with piped water, electricity supply, a completed survey and tar sealed road already in place. Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama broke ground to mark the inauguration, telling developers that they paved the way for new development and opportunities.
“As our economy grows and we continue to raise standards of living throughout Fiji, the demand for new development will increase – particularly for new and better housing,” he said.
“And opening this land up to development will allow for the construction of new homes and help address issues of overcrowding that we’re already seeing in squatter settlements and give more options to everyone in our housing market – to your benefit and the benefit of the Fijian people who may one day lease this land and call it home.”
Given concerns over the security of Native land, Bainimarama said the development of Senibua Place rebuked any suggestion of the future of I Taukei (indigenous Fijians) people being threatened or that their land is at risk.
“The fact is, the iTaukei people today operate from a position of strength unrivalled by any other time in our history. The land and rights of the iTaukei are protected and enshrined for all time in the Fijian Constitution – the supreme law of the land that governs every action of my Government. And there has never been a better time to develop iTaukei land and resources to experience the full benefits of our growing economy.”
The Prime Minister also announced that the Government would pay off the developers’ first repayment, with $437,400 of the total $727,290 loan they took from the Fiji Development Bank to finance the subdivision. “We know this payment is outstanding and you are in default. We’ll be paying off that repayment out of the iTaukei Land Development allocation in the 2017-2018 National Budget – an allocation that we have set aside to assist iTaukei landowners to develop their own land and keep the benefits directly themselves.
“This project, unlike the others that have been implemented from the beginning by Government under this initiative, has been developed by your community. We know you had initially applied for funding from my Government, but you went ahead – before our approval – and took out that loan to start this project.”
Given these special circumstances, Bainimarama said the Government would be able to support the developers’ vision by financing their first loan repayment from the I Taukei Land Development Fund, as it met the objectives of the allocation to assist I Taukei landowners develop their land for their benefit. Natogadravu is located near Nausori Airport.
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