Livelihoods change

Mesulame Soga with his grandchildren at Nawailevu Village who benefi tted from the bauxite payment. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

LANDOWNERS of bauxite mines in Bua believe they have reaped rewards they would not have achieved with income derived from farms.

The members of mataqali Naicobo, who own the biggest mining area in the North, shared their experiences and plans to improve their livelihoods.

The inclusion of new items, machines, solar systems and investment opportunities undertaken by families is a new thing for many landowners at Nawailevu Village.

Each member of this mataqali received $5000 and for big families who received the royalty payments made last month, some got as high as $30,000 per family.

For Mesulame Soga, this was the best Christmas gift for his family because they purchased new gas stoves, washing machine, solar system and improved the structure of their house.

“We all plant grog but we wouldn’t have been able to cash our stuff within a week because the sale of grog depends on buyers,” he said.

“Also, the grog takes years to mature so we want to thank the Bainimarama Government for helping us secure new things for our house.”

Virisila Nasici, 63, said she only received $900.

“But when we contacted the Ministry of Lands, they paid out my balance of $4100 and I have invested part of it as well for my family,” she said.

“Part of my money I also shared because I believe God blesses us to bless the unfortunate.”

Another landowner, Vilikesa Kaidawa (senior), built a new house from the royalty and lease payments received since 2012.

“I had an old house but the bauxite money helped me build a new one for my family and I thank Government and God for their provision.”

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