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Media Center > Speeches > HON PM BAINIMARAMA AT THE OPENING OF THE NATOGADRAVU SUBDIVISION

HON PM BAINIMARAMA AT THE OPENING OF THE NATOGADRAVU SUBDIVISION

8/22/2017
Turaga na Roko Tui Bau
Rara o Nakelo na Turaga Tui Nakelo
Turaga Tui Nabou
Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs
Commissioner Central
Ladies and Gentlemen

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
 
I’m delighted to be here with all of you open this new subdivision project, and celebrate the bold step your community is making to take full control of your destiny by opening up your land for your benefit and the benefit of the Fijian people. 
 
For eight straight years my Government has grown the Fijian economy, and during that time we’ve welcomed unprecedented investment to our shores and undertaken massive infrastructure development all across our islands. And, I’m very happy to say, the projections for where our economy is headed are nothing but promising – and we can expect more growth and more success for Fiji in the years to come. 
 
With growth comes opportunity, and our communities need to be prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities that we are bringing to Fiji and to share fully in everything we are achieving, together, as one nation and one people. 
 
Good things don’t come to those who wait, they come to those who prepare themselves to do well. And as the saying goes, success occurs when hard work meets opportunity. Well, the opportunities are here and they are rapidly growing. And with this project, your community has shown that you are ready to put in that hard work to find success. For that, you deserve to be commended, so congratulations on taking this big step towards a more prosperous future for your community. 
 
All across our islands, my Government is carrying out vital work to widen the reach of infrastructure and services and assist every Fijian to become bigger players in our economy – without discrimination – and with full recognition of the ability and ingenuity of our citizens. Because it is my deeply held belief that we have men and women all over across Fiji who have been denied the means to find success for too long, and who have limitless potential to build better lives for themselves if they are provided with the simple chance to do well. 
 
That is why I’m so excited for this project, because it will go a long way in supporting that vision. By pursuing this development, you are not only empowering your own community, you are giving many more of our people the chance to benefit as well. You’re opening up your land, and realising its full potential – paving the way for new development and new opportunities for Fiji and your fellow Fijians. 
 
As our economy grows and we continue to raise standards of living throughout Fiji, the demand for new development will increase – particularly for new and better housing. And opening this land up to development will allow for the construction of new homes and help address issues of overcrowding that we’re already seeing in squatter settlements and give more options to everyone in our housing market – to your benefit and the benefit of the Fijian people who may one day lease this land and call it home. 
 
Ladies and gentlemen, what you are doing here – subdividing and developing your land – is inspiring for me to witness as your Prime Minister, because it shows your faith in the Fiji we are all working to build. Your actions and your ambition speak more strongly than I ever could about where our nation is headed. They show the strength of your community’s faith in the new Fiji. And they rebuke, in the harshest terms, any suggestion that the future of our iTaukei people is threatened or that their land is at-risk.
 
The fact is, the iTaukei people today operate from a position of strength unrivalled by any other time in our history. The land and rights of the iTaukei are protected and enshrined for all time in the Fijian Constitution – the supreme law of the land that governs every action of my Government. And there has never been a better time to develop iTaukei land and resources to experience the full benefits of our growing economy. 
 
You’ve shown that it is you, and you alone, that will determine your destiny. You’ve shown that you are prepared to put in the work necessary to improve your lives and the lives of those around you. And you’ve shown that you aren’t here to waste time listening to politicians tell you what to fear and what to do. You are here to be practical, to do well by yourselves and your children. And you are here to put in the work to secure yourselves a brighter future. So again, congratulations on this new subdivision, you all should be very proud. 
 
My Government is proud of you as well, because you’ve put in a lot of work to make this project happen and you’ve shown real leadership in driving development for your community. We believe your hard work deserves recognition. That is why I’m very excited to announce that we will pay on your behalf the first repayment of 437,400 dollars of the total 727,290 dollar loan you’ve borrowed from the FDB to finance this project. We know this payment is outstanding and you are in default. We’ll be paying off that repayment out of the iTaukei Land Development allocation in the 2017-2018 National Budget – an allocation that we have set aside to assist iTaukei landowners to develop their own land and keep the benefits directly themselves. This project, unlike the others that have been implemented from the beginning by Government under this initiative, has been developed by your community. We know you had initially applied for funding from my Government, but you went ahead – before our approval – and took out that loan to start this project. So given these special circumstances we are able to support your vision by financing this first loan repayment from iTaukei Land Development Fund as it meets the objective of the allocation to assist iTaukei landowners to develop their land for their benefit. 
 
We’re doing this because we believe in you, we believe in the example you are setting for every iTaukei community and we believe in the future you are working to create – for yourselves and for every Fijian.
 
I look forward to seeing this your community continue to build up your land and make yourselves more economically and financially powerful. Keep up the good work, you have my Government’s full support.
 
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you. 
 
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