22nd September 10:57 AM
The 2013 constitution has stopped dividing Fijians along racial lines - Koya
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 13/09/2017
Industry and Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya

Industry and Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya says the 2013 constitution has stopped dividing Fijians along racial lines and has brought people together as Fijians.

While speaking in parliament today, Koya says the 2013 Constitution was given a test in the 2014 election and that was a referendum in respect to the Constitution.

He says that was the big blue tick and the mandate for the FijiFirst Government to govern.

Koya says the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism is taking the lead role in the review of the Consumer Credit Act and the key purpose of the act is to strengthen the legal framework for the provision of credit and ensuring that customers or debtors are protected before entering into a credit contract.

He also says that the micro and small business grant is a FijiFirst initiative which is part of the manifesto, and 12,000 recipients have benefitted from this program.

Koya says $11.6M has been invested in the program so far and there are many success stories.

He urges the opposition to go out to the people on the ground and see the success stories of the recipients.

He says all he has been hearing is the opposition saying that the scheme is a waste of taxpayers money, and they are totally wrong about this.

Koya also says to date, they have issued a total of 258 approval notices for tenants residing in informal settlements and furthermore, issued 200 state land lease documents to individuals for residential, agricultural or commercial purposes.

With regards to the issue raised by SODELPA parliamentarian Viliame Gavoka on the compensation of resource owners in Momi Bay, Faiyaz Koya highlighted that the compensation exercise was not undertaken by the FijiFirst Government, but rather by the SDL Government, the very Government that did the land swap in Momi.

Koya says this was done by the then SDL Minister for Lands Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, who presented the proposal to Cabinet.

He says the proposal was approved by the then Cabinet, which was chaired by the former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and the Cabinet at that time, also included the current leader of Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa.

Koya says they were able to do the land swap involving Itaukei land in Momi, even though the 1997 Constitution’s so‑called entrenched provisions were in effect.

Under the laws, you cannot swap or sell Itaukei land and it should always be returned to the landowners.

Koya also says that with regards to the Momi Bay foreshore, the SDL Government process did not require a Fisheries Impact Assessment to determine the compensation for traditional fishing rights owners.

He says it is the FijiFirst Government that has ensured that the traditional fishing rights owners take ownership of their natural resources, through formal leasing arrangements to maximise returns for development of their iqoliqoli.

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