Fiji’s Great Council of Chiefs Endorses Economic Empowerment Framework for iTaukei

The prioritisation of iTaukei SMEs, provision of scholarships for iTaukei students and the strengthening of provincial council companies are elements of an economic empowerment framework Fiji’s Great Council of Chiefs endorsed when they met in Bau recently.

Endorsed at their meeting in Bau last week, the framework aims to improve the lives of iTaukei people. Recent statistics highlight that three quarters of individuals living in poverty are iTaukei.

Ministry of iTaukei Affairs Permanent Secretary Pita Tagicakirewa described the framework as one of the crucial decisions made during the 2-day GCC that was held in Bau last week.

“Part of this framework is to assist iTaukei SMEs, secondly consider educational assistance – for iTaukei students especially at tertiary level – what is the arrangement that can be done regarding the scholarship – and also consider assistance to strengthening the provincial council companies so they can improve their economic/financial position, so that they are able to help members of their own provinces. Those are some of the elements of the economic empowerment framework,” he said.

The framework, Tagicakirewa said will be implemented by iTaukei institutions.

The framework also entails the review of some of these institutions including the i-Taukei Land and Fisheries Commission and i-Taukei Land Trust Board.

Speaking on the iTLTB review, Tagicakirewa said it aligns with efforts to promote and advance iTaukei economic status.

The strategic review of the TLTB aims to empower landowners to carry out their own development activities. Currently, the iTaukei Land Trust Act grants control over native land to the TLTB, but the proposed changes would allow landowners to lease their land. TLTB will continue to oversee the process.

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