Vanuatu daily news digest | 6 October 2014

On the Chamber of Commerce page in Daily Post today, the Business Column, the Chamber makes clear why entrepreneur David Russet has been so critical of government in reports in the media very recently. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), along with the Australian and NZ Governments in this region, recently funded a study concerning the performance of not only our State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), but those of nine other Small Island States. Lots of SOEs were studied in Vanuatu but only two in this country have completed their audits for 2013. Well done Air Vanuatu and the National Bank. No Brownie points for the others. Whilst this does not mean Messrs Russet, Bayer, Kernot and Faivre, or nominees, could turn Air Van, the Housing Corp, VBTC, the Asset Management Unit, VCMB, Vanuatu Post, AVL, the Agriculture Bank and others around at a stroke, the Chamber report does indicate a need for robust legal and regulatory frameworks for these outfits which simply must appoint professionals to their boards. And these, in turn, must give clear, transparent and accountable mandates to properly qualified and professional managements. The well-written Chamber page points out where political interference gets in the way: "Political will is needed only to ensure that SOEs function the way they are intended to. Politicians are ill-suited to own commercial companies." Indeed they are, as their period of responsibility is never more than 4 years. Buy today’s Daily Post for this report on a hugely important study, if you buy it for nothing else.

But also buy Daily Post for news of the amazing "fair trade" project of market ‘mamas’ at the magnificent ACTIV association handicraft centre at the Stella Mare subdivision just beyond Second Lagoon. The very best of handicrafts are on display in beautiful surroundings for residents and visitors alike who can buy items of quality and know the majority of what they pay goes to the artist. Micro-projects really can work for their owners. ACTIV Handicraft Centre is open during normal business hours.

There is also news of an ACP countries’ Pacific Coconut Facility to be initially housed at Santo (and have VT 2.5 billion spent on it) in Daily Post today. It is enthusiastically backed by the Minister for Agriculture, David Tosul, although there is not a lot of information for the general Vanuatu public about how it will work.

The general public of Port Vila will, however, appreciate a Port Vila Municipality clean-up competition involving the youth of the various town wards. Not only will it give an often seemingly aimless sub-culture something to do, it might even give them some cash to do it with.

Happy Constitution Day.