Fiji landowners dispute government royalty figures

Opposition MP Mosese Drecala Bulitavu, left, talks to Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as they make their way out of Parliament yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

Opposition MP Mosese Drecala Bulitavu, left, talks to Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as they make their way out of Parliament yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

Royalty query

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari and Luke Rawalai | Fiji Times

LANDOWNERS in Nawailevu, Bua have denied receipt of any rock or soil royalty.

This was relayed to Parliament yesterday by Opposition member Mosese Bulitavu who questioned Lands Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa’s confirmation on Monday that landowners had been paid rock royalties.

He informed Parliament landowners of Nawailevu had only been paid goodwill of $570,000 which was held under a Trust.

“They have received a total of $32,000 from lease proceeds so far, $18,000 per annum for a period of two years and the landowners are not aware of any rock and soil royalty payments and they confirm they have not received these royalty payments,” Mr Bulitavu said.

Mr Bulitavu’s comments were confirmed to this newspaper by landowners yesterday.

Landowners said they understood the soil and rocks royalty was being processed by the Lands Ministry and they had not received it.

Vilikesa Kaidawa said they had only received money for the leasing of the mining site which stood at $32,000 and they were aware of the ministry’s intention to set aside $60,000 soon as trust fund for future generations of Nawailevu.

He confirmed since 2011 to 2015 they have been receiving lease premiums of $8000 every six months.

Mr Kaidawa said they had been informed that rock and soil royalty would be given once mining works ended following a survey to determine the amount of soil and rocks used during the mining process and the amount of royalty to be paid.

Meanwhile, this newspaper was earlier informed by Mrs Vuniwaqa that one of her ministry’s priorities this year was to determine a formula that would give shares of royalty monies to all landowners. This is a provision on Section 30 of the 2013 Constitution.

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Filed under Fiji, Financial returns, Human rights

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