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By Maika Bolatiki
The iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) has now stopped cash payments of lease money to iTaukei landowners.
TLTB’s new policy now is for landowners to open their bank accounts.
TLTB general manager, Alipate Qetaki said the Board decided in 2009 for funds to be paid to bank accounts operated by appointed trustees.
“The opening of accounts had been at a slow pace. However, this speeded up after the equal rent distribution policy was announced in January, 2011,” Mr Qetaki said.
He said the bank accounts should be operated by trustees of a mataqali or yavusa or i-tokatoka (clan).
“The TLTB Board and management are working to build up TLTBs IT system’s capacity to enable TLTB to open bank accounts for individual members in a mataqali/yavusa/i-tokatoka.
“That is the ultimate objective and target. There are identified constraints and these are being addressed also.
“Such a policy promotes accountability, transparency and certainty in the transmission, use and investment of landowner’s funds and it opens up new opportunities for landowners.”
He said response had been good.
He warned landowners that no funds would be paid out unless and until landowning units appointed their trustees and open their bank account.
“Over 55 per cent have registered as at May 31, 2012. Efforts are continuing to complete the process. Most of those who have not registered have not held their meetings and collected the required consents of their members.”
The new policy advantages are as follows:
The TLTB has urged the mataqali or yavusa who have not appointed their trustees to do so. “In doing so they are able to account for funds use and withdrawals, have a relationship with the bank which can be very useful if they later require financial assistance through loans and other facilities.” TLTB has links with Investment Fiji, commercial banks and the Centre for Appropriate Technology & Development (CATD) at Nadave.