22 Mar 2005

Fiji Labour leader says squatters can't afford government housing scheme

1:20 pm on 22 March 2005

The Fiji opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says squatters won't be able to afford land offered to them as part of a government housing scheme.

Mr Chaudhry told the Fiji Times that the Housing Authority's offer of about 6,000 US dollars for a 220-square metre lot at Lautoka was unrealistic.

He says the government should subsidise costs to ensure that the price of each lot comes down to at least 3,000 US dollars, so that people living in squatter settlements can take advantage of the initiative.

The Housing Authority's chief executive, Alipate Naiorosui, said last week that the scheme would let people living in squatter settlements buy a piece of land that they could call home.

Mr Chaudhry says people living in squatter settlements are there because they cannot afford rent elsewhere and most of them are unemployed.