Informal settlements otherwise known as squatters will continue to be a priority for upgrade and assistance says, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
Speaking in Nadi during the 5th Urban Development Forum, Bainimarama says for decades in our country, entire communities have languished on the fringes of urban development in what we call informal settlements.
He says these settlements are home to squatters who do not own the land on which they reside.
“For these families, security is tenuous and life difficult; their lack of tenure has left them shackled by uncertainty and isolated from mainstream development, and planning for the future is all but impossible. And like many other Pacific countries, these informal settlements – plagued by under-investment – are the least equipped to deal with worsening climate impacts.”
Bainimarama also stressed on the importance of not leaving out or forgetting those in the informal settlements.
“In Fiji today, we’re righting that historic injustice by handing over 99-year leases to squatter families on land they’ve called home for decades. I’ve officiated at several of these title handovers. I’ve met personally with many of those families. I’ve seen the tears of joy, I’ve heard – first-hand – how their lives have been changed for the better. But what has stayed with me most vividly, is hearing the dreams these families now aspire to achieve after finally being granted a level of ownership over their communities.”
He adds with the land as collateral, these families can fully step into the financial sector, access loans from mainstream banks and build better, stronger and more resilient homes, businesses and communal buildings.
Featured image: PRIME MINISTER FRANK BAINIMARAMA ADDRESSING AT THE PACIFIC URBAN FORUM AT TANOA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, NADI [SOURCE: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT]