Vanuatu daily news digest | CIIP program terms to be re-negotiated

This news Digest is still not back to normal but an item from the Office of the Prime Minister this afternoon deserves immediate release in full.

Readers are reminded that ni-Vanuatu had no citizenship of any kind until just 34 years ago. Many people here have spent half their lives as stateless persons (Ed). The item:

CIIP program terms to be re-negotiated

The government of Prime Minister Joe Natuman, through the Council of Ministers decision No. 104/2014 has re-affirmed its commitment to the Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP).

However, this re-adffirmation is subject to the CIIP Taskforce and the Minister of Finance carrying out further negotiations within the next six months with Vanuatu Registry Service (VRS) and the Master Agent of the scheme in Hong Kong.

The decision is in keeping with Prime Minister Natuman’s promise when he toppled the former Carcasses government on May 15 that he would be reviewing some of the major decisions of his predecessor because he was uncomfortable with them.

"If someone is to gain any financial benefits from such initiatives, particularly if it concerns an important national identity document like a Vanuatu passport, I think we should not be giving it away too cheaply.

"This concerns our identity – our sovereignty as a nation," said Prime Minister Natuman firmly.

The Prime Minister said he does not think it is fair to those who fought blood, sweat and tears for our Independence that Vanuatu could give away these documents easily.

"We have changed our Constitution in order for the country to pursue this initiative so that we can raise more revenue to help the government deliver services to our people. The reason why we have resorted to these fund-raising measures is because we have not been prudent with our financial resources.

"I have highlighted this during my Independence speech. In fact I still wonder if the founders would be happy to see this happening.

"I also said that we have a common enemy today in corruption and poverty. We’ve allowed vested interests to break down and blur our common visions and dreams.

"There are so many things that are not working for the common good of this nation. I want to see this changed," said Natuman.

The Prime Minister reiterated he made his intentions clear during his election that he was not happy with the direction in which the country was heading.

Only last week, Parliament voted to allow the Greenfield Airport Concession agreement to lapse, and for the government to abandon the project because of the potential risks it poses to the country’s future financial and economic well-being.