7% Of Fiji Population Living In Informal Squatter Settlements

Real Estate Board says cost of improving housing falls totally on squatters

By Matilda Simmons

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 13, 2016) – About 77,794 or 7 per cent of Fiji's population are living in 200 squatter settlements around Fiji, and if authorities are serious about addressing their needs, it should take into account the affordable factor for these settlers.

Chairman of the Real Estate Agents Licensing Board of Fiji (REALB) Dr Abdul Hassan said despite legislations in place, local councils did not step in to help subsidise rate costs for most informal housings.

"Unless and until we can mitigate the cost of various components of home and building, it will be very difficult to work out this problem.

"Unfortunately, the local councils are not doing much in terms of helping these squatters to get a decent housing today."

Dr Hassan was responding to a report finding by Maraia Ubitau of Nadkam Consultants which revealed there were more than 13 legislations in place that helped informal settlements to access basic services despite their "illegal" status, however, this was not fully realised.

The Government is working on programs in partnership with the iTaukei Land Trust Board to regularise the illegal settlements by working with the respective landowners to ensure security of tenure and landowners receive ground lease.

"For a large piece of land where the squatters are settling, if the land is subdivided, all the cost of the subdivision are borne by the squatters who will acquire that piece of land.

"What happens at the end is the local council will collect the rate for all that subdivided land; the benefit goes to the council without any contribution from them.

"I think this is a critical area where we have to decide how we can mitigate the subsidies to a level where the ordinary workers are able to afford it through their income," Dr Hassan said.

Fiji Times Online.
Copyright © 2016 Fiji Times Online. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (2 votes)

Add new comment