Illegal PM Makes Unilateral Change to NLTB Entitlements
PM orders NLTB change
Elenoa Baselala Fiji Times - Thursday, February 17, 2011
THE Native Land Trust Board has been directed to distribute lease monies to all landowners that were 18 years and above, confirmed a statement from the Information Ministry.
Prime Minister and i-Taukei Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama issued the directive also in his capacity as chairman of the NLTB.
The directive issued yesterday effectively reduced the minimum age for lease money recipients to 18 years from the previously practiced 21 years and over.
Under the existing policy and practice of NLTB, all monies received by NLTB were only distributed to those 21 years and over. The monetary entitlements of those under 21 years of age are held in trust by NLTB.
"As announced in January, the Bainimarama Government has amended the Native Land Trust (Leases and Licences) Regulations, to ensure that all members of the i-Taukei landowning units receive an equal share of the monies distributed by NLTB, regardless of rank or chiefly title.
"Given its policy under the Peoples' Charter for Change, Peace & Progress to reduce the minimum age from 21 years to 18 in all laws, policies and practices, Government has reviewed the existing NLTB policy of only distributing monies to persons of the age of 21 years and has now decided to reduce the eligibility age to 18 years.
"As such, all eligible persons 18 years and over will now be entitled to receive their equal share of the monies distributed by NLTB.
"For persons under the age of 18 years, the existing policy of the monies being held in trust by NLTB will continue, and these monies will be paid out upon a person reaching 18 years of age.
"The Prime Minister has further instructed NLTB that this directive on the reduction of eligibility age to 18 years is to be implemented with immediate effect," the statement said.