The Government has allocated $2 million in the 2023-24 National Budget to support the beautification and general improvement of i-Taukei villages and settlements.
Under this assistance, the Government will provide two thirds towards any eligible projects, while villages and settlements will contribute one third.
The program will be administered by the Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs and the criteria and guidelines will be announced soon.
Meanwhile the Ministry of i-Taukei has been allocated $38.6 million overall.
Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad while announcing the Budget in Parliament said: “For a long time, under the previous Government, our i-Taukei have not received the attention they should have received. We are going to change that.
“To strengthen i-Taukei administration and our provincial councils, a grant of $10.8 million is allocated to fund the 14 provincial councils, including $4.3 million to fund the salaries and wages of 182 provincial council officers and other operational expenses of around $6.1 million.”
He said the Government has reviewed the allowances for the Turaga-ni-Koro’s, Mata-ni-Tikina’s and also allocated allowance for Turaga-ni-Yavusa due to the important role they play in the village administration and leadership.
“The Turaga-ni-Koro monthly allowance will be increased from $100 to $150 per month for all 1,181 Turaga-ni-Koro’s for which a total sum of $2.1 million is allocated.”
“The Mata-ni-Tikina quarterly allowance will be increased by $150 per quarter, which is equivalent to an increase of $50 per month for the 262 Mata-ni-Tikina’s. This increase will be on top of the current quarterly allowances for the Mata-ni-Tikina. Currently, the Mata-ni-Tikina is eligible for either $100 dollars, $175 dollars or $195 dollars depending on the geographical area they serve and some are also eligible for certain travel and incidental allowances. A sum of $585,800 is allocated.”
“To recognise and support the Turaga-ni-Yavusa in decision-making and Vanua administration, a monthly allowance of $100 has been allocated for 648 Turaga-ni-Yavusa’s under the Vanua Leadership Allowance with a sum of $800,000.”
The Government has also allocated $4 million for i-Taukei Land Development to help landowners with the development of their land for commercial purposes.
Prof Prasad said this allocation used to be funded under Head 50, however, this is now been administered by the Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs.
The i-Taukei Affairs Board is allocated a grant of $2.2 million to fund the operations of the Board and salary and wage payments of its 79 officers.