Home Ownership Initiative Benefits More Than Two And A Half Thousand Households
21 February, 2020 Suva, Fiji –
Since its inception in 2014, the Home Ownership Initiative has assisted more than 2,550 Fijian households to a tune of $22.7 million.
First Home Purchase Grant and First Land Purchase Grant are supportive approaches the government is taking to encourage Fijians to own a home.
Four hundred and fifty households (450) have benefited from the Home Ownership Initiative in the first six months of this financial year (2019/2020) representing $4.9 million against a budget of $5.5 million. Of this, 66 applicants were from the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) Mataqali scheme with a payout of $990,000. The scheme was launched as an extension of the Home Ownership programme in 2018.
In making the announcement the Minister for Trade, Industry, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Hon. Premila Kumar said, these programmes are well in line with the Government’s objective to increase home ownership for those in need.
“The grants for the Home Ownership programmes for the 2019/2020 budget have been fully utilized as there have been overwhelming response and number of applications for assistance. This not only reflects the Government’s continued commitment towards increasing home ownership, but also demonstrates the confidence of the Public and the Financial Institutions in the Fijian economy,” the Hon. Minister said.
She added that applications are processed strictly on a first come first serve basis, based on established criteria. A further 143 applications are currently being processed to be paid by way of virement of funds from within the Ministry’s Budget. Those who were unsuccessful this financial year, could reapply in the next budget cycle for 2020/2021. Based on budget utilization, these programs are currently closed for this financial year (2019/2020). Minister Kumar also stated that it was important to highlight milestones in the housing sector and in particular since the establishment of the Ministry of Housing and Community Development in 2018. The Minister added that the Fijian Government’s commitment to the housing sector, was underscored by the progress made and partnerships forged with other stakeholders including non-government organisations, multilateral financial institutions, development partners, public and private sectors
“The Ministry of Housing and Community Development continues to forge ahead with its work on the Informal Settlement Upgrade and Formalization Programme, Rural Housing Assistance, housing assistance to vulnerable families through the Housing Assistance Relief Trust (HART) and home and assistance for people with disabilities.
The Ministry will be relocating its head office to Korobasaga House, which will provide a dedicated space and at the same time, allow the team to focus on improved and efficient service delivery to all Fijians,” Minister Kumar added.
The First Home Ownership Initiative is directly managed by the Ministry of Housing and Community Development. Under the programme, households with an annual income of less than $50,000 are entitled to receive a $15,000 grant to build their home or $10,000 to purchase their first home.
In the 2018/2019 financial year, this assistance was extended to those with an annual household income threshold of $50,000 - $100,000 and the entitlement is for $10,000 for construction and $5,000 for the purchase of their first home. The First Land Purchase programme was introduced in the 2018/19 budget. Applicants with an annual household income of $50,000 and below, qualify for this assistance to purchase their land through ITLTB and the Ministry of Lands. The maximum grant assistance is $10,000. Successful applicants must meet all requirements as laid out in a strict criterion, and the final recommendations are made by a committee that includes representation from the Ministry of Housing and Community Development, Ministry of Economy and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service.