Housing still remains a major issue and people will be eagerly awaiting the 2019/2020 National Budget address on Friday to find out about the government’s plans on housing.
Minister for Housing Premila Kumar had earlier highlighted that there are currently more than 250 squatter settlements throughout the country.
Kumar also stated that in 2003 squatter settlements increased by 70 percent due to the expiry of cane leases. Additionally, in an effort to meet the demand for housing the iTaukei Land Trust Board has issued 10,052 new residential leases between 2010 to 2018.
The trend of new leases issued by TLTB demonstrates the demand for housing in Fiji.
TLTB was further questioned on the possibility of any expansion of this initiative, however, we are still awaiting a response.
Another aspect of government housing assistance is the first home purchase or construction scheme.
In the 2018/2019 National Budget, the Fijian government announced that first home owners with an annual income of under $50,000 would receive $15,000 towards the first home construction or $10,000 towards the first home purchase.
To be eligible applicants must be a Fijian citizen residing in Fiji, be 18 years of age and above, have an annual household income of $100,000 or less, have never previously purchased or owned a home in Fiji and the individual must meet the financial institution’s loan criteria and meet the FNPF Home Building Criteria under the Village/ Mataqali Scheme.
Over 1,000 recipients have already benefitted from this scheme.