Minister for Lands Filimoni Vosarogo says they had to access the ‘Daily Sales Data’ of the Registrar of Titles Office and the Ministry of Information, after the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service terminated its MOU with the Ministry.
The Sales Data is used by those who are experts in interpreting the property market in Fiji.
This is an integral part of the valuation process and required for valuation reports for mortgages, transfers, property matter and used for sales and purchases.
Speaking in Parliament, Vosarogo said prior to the repealing of the Stamp Duties Act 1920, pointing a focal point for the collection of information, the Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding with FRCS to collect property data or instruments that were bought for stamp duty or transfer of any land to FRCS.
Vosarogo said in exchange, the Ministry assisted FRCS in determining the market value of such properties under the Stamp Duties Act 1920 and carry our valuation of such property at a minimum applicable rate under the Valuation Act 1986.
“The repealing of the Stamp Duties Act 1920 through the repealing legislation in 2020, as a result, the FRCS no longer collects stamp duties. Consequently, the Ministry now has to collect data from the Capital Gains Tax Section and not from the Stamp Duty’s Section.”
“In 2022, FRCS decided to withhold access to the Sales Data to the Ministry; do not have access to the daily Sales Data that we used to have from FRCS.”
Vosarogo said in September 2022, the then CEO of FRCS terminated the MOU that the Ministry had with the Tax Office.
“Pursuant to Regulation 51 (3)(b) of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (Information Sharing) Regulation 2019, the MOU that had enjoyed with FRCS that allowed the Ministry to access information so that the Ministry upgraded its data at the Chief Valuer’s Office was repealed and terminated by the Tax Office.”
Vosarogo added that they have operated without the essential upgrade of the database for more than 24 months.
“The Ministry is currently working with the Office of the Solicitor-General in finalising and executing daily connection, recording of relevant property sales information or transfer documents that have been lodged by parties at the Registrar of Titles Office,” Vosarogo said.