State land rot costing too much


THE government has been losing millions of kina through the illegal and speculative sales of vacant State land, either by individuals or commercial entities who heavily profit at the expense of the State.
The State instrumentalities, who are supposed to be checking these speculative transactions, continue to turn a blind eye without strictly monitoring illegal sales or transfers.
It would seem that the Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, his department secretary, the valuer-general, Office of the Registrar of Titles, and the solicitor-general are not willing to diligently and effectively manage these speculative land transfers. This is clearly evidenced by what the media has been reporting about high-profile vacant State land transactions, which have obviously gone through the apparent attention and approval of the five instrumentalities referred to above.
Although these vacant State leases were transacted through the compulsory acquisitions process, it is still of concern that these were undeveloped or unimproved land of which the State could have easily forfeited the leases and saved it from paying such excessive amount in compensation.
And it is sad for the State that the compensation paid to the leaseholders were based on the market value of those properties despite their undeveloped or unimproved state.Why the solicitor-general, being the final vetting and approving authority on behalf of the State, allowed such excessive amount of compensation on properties not fully developed is puzzling?
There continues to be vacant State land sales and transactions advertised in our daily media involving undeveloped urban development leases, undeveloped residential, commercial (business) and or agricultural leases.

Lorenitz Gaius
Ketskets village