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AfricaMoney | August 20, 2017

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New Policy Framework to govern fair and transparent allocation of State Land

New Policy Framework to govern fair and transparent allocation of State Land

According to Showkutally Soodhun, the State Land Register will enable the identification of each parcel of State Land that can be developed for either commercial or tourist purpose.(Image: anahitaproperty)

The allocation and use of State Land was the primary focus of the Vice-Prime Minister, at the National Assembly on Friday February 20, 2015.

“We all know that there is a scarcity of State Land. Therefore, State Land must be used judiciously”, said the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Lands, Showkutally Soodhun.

The Vice-Prime Minister stressed that the new Policy Framework, in so far as building sites are concerned, will focus on the most vulnerable and deserving families, who would be given priority of consideration, for the allocation of State land so that they can have a decent dwelling.

The new system, he pointed out, will also provide for the establishment of a State Land Register, which will be a component at the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.

According to Showkutally Soodhun, the State Land Register will enable the identification of each parcel of State Land that can be developed for either commercial or tourist purpose.

This information will be posted on the web site of the Ministry for the call for expressions of interest whereby promoters should satisfy a pre-determined set of criteria, among others, financial credentials, proven track records, and proof and justification of amount of Foreign Direct Investment to be injected in the project.

A certificate from a recognised banking institution would have mandatorily to be produced.

Speaking on the various issues concerning previous allocations of State Land, namely bypassing procedures, allocation of land without Cabinet approval, speculations with a view to make money out of State Land, non-compliance with contractual obligations, and non-payment of annual rent, the Vice-Prime Minister said that many cases have been referred to the State Law Office to seek advice, for corrective action. He added that the Land Fraud Squad of the police is already inquiring into seven cases.

In his statement at the National Assembly, the Minister of Housing and Lands, also talked of the need to come up with a revised National Development Strategy.

He recalled that the first national level spatial development plans to guide and control development were prepared in the seventies and that successive governments have since reviewed it from time to time.

“The Government of the day considers that now is the time to move on and introduce another dimension to the planning function”, he said.

The new National Development Strategy will assess the implications of the amount of land available for development, identify constraints and make proposals for an integrated public/private transport strategy, smart growth principles and address a range of urban planning and development issues.

Showkutally Soodhun finally reiterated the commitment of his Ministry to achieve its various objectives which include housing projects not only for low income earners but also different income groups; revision and consolidation of existing legislations as well as introduction of new legislations; revamping of the National Housing Development Company; addressing the issue of squatters and the setting-up of a strong Planning and Development Commission.

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