16 Dec 2016

Retrospective Fiji laws send 'wrong signals' to foreign investors

11:23 am on 16 December 2016

A Fiji economics professor says bringing in retrospective laws for foreign landowners sends all the wrong signals to overseas investors.

Amendments to the Land Sales Act require non-resident landowners to build a $US120000 house within two years or face heavy fines or imprisonment.

The law will apply to those who bought land before the amendments were introduced in 2014.

James Cook University Adjunct Professor Wadan Narsey said the retrospective law was unfair and that there were many other countries where people can invest without the hassle.

"And these are law abiding countries where the authorities respect the laws, the authorities respect the human rights of people, where people don't get summarily deported on flimsy excuses, where ministers are accountable to the investors. Fiji is absolutely giving all the wrong signals on all these fronts."

Professor Narsey said the deportation of a foreign citizen who opposed the laws was not a good sign.