17 Jun 2002

The Fiji government is considering a proposal which would see farm leases renewed

9:14 am on 17 June 2002

The Fiji government is considering a compromise proposal under which the Native Land Trust Board will resume renewing expired farm leases.

Under the proposal, farm leases will be extended by another ten to 20 years --- up from the current 30 years and rentals will go up by ten per cent.

The Daily Post reports that details have been revealed by the Minister of Lands, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, to the Fijian community in Washington DC.

Ratu Naiqama is reported to have said that the decision to increase the rent and extend the length of leases was in line with the government's beliefs in fairness and equity for the landowners and the tenants.

In Fiji, the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says a bipartisan committee comprising government and Fiji Labour Party has been formed to discuss land lease renewals.

The committee has to reach agreement before the proposed solution can go to the Cabinet and the Great Council of Chiefs.

Mr Qarase has said he wants the solution to go before the July session of parliament.