Saiyed-Khaiyum: Bill 17 designed to attract investment

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI/SUPPLIED

Bill No. 17 is designed to attract investment by improving the ease of doing business, says Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“Suffice to say Bill 17 does not take away the right of any landowner or landowning unit to authorise the giving of lease, it does not reduce the amount of lease money the landowners expect to collect,” he said of the proposed amendment to the iTaukei Land Trust Amendment Bill that is before Parliament.

The A-G said Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama wanted Fijians to understand the Government’s intentions and it was unfortunate the Opposition “grabbed the Bill and gave it an ethnic twist”.

“It is an administrative matter.

“In an economic shock as significant as COVID-19, the Government has to be innovative and creative to ensure we attract investment, internally and externally, by ensuring you improve the ease of doing business.

“For thousands of Fijians unemployed, we need to ensure conditions to attract investment are created, which in turn result in job creation and lay the platform for private-sector economic recovery.”

The A-G said the proposed amendment would ensure ease of developing land through financing.

He said this could result in increased developments taking place and land around the leased parcel would increase in value.

The A-G said as a result of this, landowners would be able to demand a higher land lease for premiums and also for annual lease purposes.

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