Opposition wants customary land leased to locals only

Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster.

Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster.

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA: WEDNESDAY 02 OCTOBER 2013: The Opposition favours the leasing of customary land for development but only to local investors.

Much unused land would now be developed if Government had explained to owners how they can lease out customary land, Shadow Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster said.

Now foreign investors are taking advantage of it, Toeolesulusulu said.

Investors may lease customary land and use the lease to secure a loan to develop it.

“People need to understand that they won’t lose their lands if whoever they are leasing it fails to pay their loans,” said Toeolesulusulu.

Under the Registration Land Act 2007, the bank will take over the lease from a failed investor and sublease it to recover its money.

“The land owner still receives his money from the lease,” said Toeolesulusulu.

When the term of the lease is up, the land goes back to the land owner.