20 Dec 2005

Fiji party president calls for overhaul on land policies

3:50 pm on 20 December 2005

There's a call for major changes to take place over land policy in Fiji so that indigenous landowners can more easily move into development if they want to.

The president of the National Alliance party, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says there are too many constraints placed on the 88 percent of land under indigenous ownership, leaving indigenous Fijians asset rich but cash poor.

He says 55 percent of this is labelled reserve land which cannot be used as collateral or security if a landowner wants to get into any form of development.

Ratu Epeli says there is too difficult a process to go through to change the status of land.

"Under the current system or under the current legislation, that does not offer any scope for going into, or developing our lands commercially on a scale where we would see great benefit accrued to the indigenous community."

Ratu Epeli says if the National Alliance party gets into parliament at next year's election, it will works towards amending the entrenched legislation covering land.