The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has blamed the Samoa Solidarity International Group the lack of customary land leases and licenses processed.
This was outlined in their Annual Report for financial year 2017-2018; which says there were 20 new leases.
"Even though we reach the target but it is less compared to last financial year. This is due to the fact that the SSIG has misled a lot of Customary land owners not to lease their lands."
The Customary Land Lease Section by mandate is responsible primarily for the administration of customary lands through the licensing and leasing systems, on behalf of the Minister, who is the sole trustee for beneficial owners of customary lands in accordance with the provisions of the Alienation of Customary Land Act 1965.
In the current financial year, the following tasks were carried out by the section in accordance with its mandate under the Alienation of Customary Lands Act 1965;
25 site inspections of new and current customary leases in both Upolu and Savaii;
28 mail delivery of rental advices, meetings and decisions on customary lands;
25 publications of new leases in Savali Newspapers;
Conduct meetings with new lessees and new land owners on determining the conditions of lease agreements for lessor’s endorsement;
Preparation of Legal documentation of new leases.
Ongoing update of customary lands database.
Ongoing update, scanning and sorting into chronological order of current and new customary land lease files for efficiency purposes and ease of file retrieval.
Renew and update all files for Private Ventures (PVs) published in Savali Newspapers.
Conduct meetings with Beneficial Owners on ways to motivate and encourage the economic use of their customary lands that are largely underutilized and unused
Collaborate with CLAC as a counterpart to facilitate public meetings with customary landowners in publicizing as well as promoting the economic use of customary lands in Samoa for the benefits of landowners
The Customary Land Lease section is counterpart to the Customary Land Advisory Commission (CLAC) in its support role in leasing customary lands to both local and foreign investors which CLAC continues progressively to promote through the economic use of customary lands in Samoa. The main focal drive behind this movement is economic growth not only for Samoa as a country but are perceived as largely beneficial to landowners of customary lands and their extended families.
3.1.2 Secretariat to Customary Land Advisory Commission (CLAC)
Promoting the economic use of customary lands is the primary task or core function of the CLAC and it is significantly seen as
a vehicle for improving the economic fabric of the country by encouraging the opening up of this type of land tenure market for foreign investments. Customary land comprises the majority of lands in Samoa or about two-thirds of land composition in Samoa at roughly 81%. These lands are largely underutilized and are therefore in dire need for use as collateral to ensure not only a sustained economy for Samoa in the long run but more importantly beneficial to landowners and their extended family members. With this mindset behind government thinking, it then led primarily to the establishment of the Customary Land Advisory Commission (CLAC) as a seven year project to deal directly with the promotion of customary lands through licensing and leasing purely for purposes of enhancing economic development of customary landowners and the rural communities.
The CLAC under its mandate reports direct to the Cabinet through the Minister of MNRE and the following records its official contribution to the