$1million paid as royalty to two landowning units

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Minister for Mineral Resources Filimoni Vosarogo. Picture: ATU RASEA/FT FILE

The two landowning units of the first bauxite mine have been paid $1million as royalty since 2011.

This, according to the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, makes up 80 per cent of the total royalty.

However, after concerns over the utilisation of such high payouts to landowners which, at times are not realised on the ground, minister responsible Filimoni Vosarogo said this was an area he would work on with other agencies including government ministries.

“It has always been a challenge to see money paid in royalty to landowners, be better utilised,” Mr Vosarogo said.

“There are options like looking at ways of investment so that the principal remains and landowners feed off dividends and benefit most of them.

“Such issues faced by landowners in terms of where they money goes. We will need experts of financial literacy to work with landowners to manage their finances well and arising out of this trip, I will go back and see the programs available with iTaukei Affairs and assist landowners to utilise money better.”

Mr Vosarogo said seeing high payout always looked good on paper but not realised on the ground.