Weak cyclone to form offshore tomorrow; Broadcasters must pay fees owing; Tax system under review

Tropical Cyclone Forecast Track Map Number 1 issued at 11:36 am VUT Tuesday 5 April 2016 by Vanuatu Meteorological Services

The tropical low currently sitting off Santo has a high chance of becoming a category 1 cyclone by 11am tomorrow, says Vanuatu Meteorological Services. A warning has been issued for heavy rain, flash flooding and 40-50km/h winds for Torba province, and Vanuatu’s tracking map is now active. We’ll keep you updated as news breaks.

PM Salwai insists all privately owned broadcasting stations must pay the dues owing. This followed a briefing he had with the National Broadcasting Regulator Fred Vurobaravu. It appears many stations are in debt to the national treasury. PM Salwai said the privately controlled stations must not continue to use the argument that VBTC is unsatisfactory as a regulator owing to its own role as a broadcaster and competitor in the market. Fees are before private broadcasters signed their agreements, he added. Now they must pay up, the PM emphasized, in VBTC News today.

The Integrity Bill is being taken to the people by a team from the Commonwealth. The Bill is designed to reduce the political instability Vanuatu has suffered since 1992. Talks on Malekula will help finalise the Bill before it goes to Parliament, Radio Vanuatu reported.

The Government’s Revenue Review Team’s meeting yesterday decided they will focus on three principal areas. These are tax revenue (including corporate and personal income tax), non-tax revenue and modernisation of the administration of taxes and Customs duties. A small group of government officials and representatives from the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) are undertaking the review, Daily Post tells us today. Public consultations are promised for later this year.

The Malapoa College China-funded expansion and renovation project is to be launched this week. Daily Post revealed yesterday it covers a floor area of over 12,000 square metres with a two-storey office and administration area where the present school signboard is located. This is the Malapoa College 50th anniversary year and the school wants to see the project ground breaking in this year. Daily Post carries an architect’s impression of the new administration building.

Daily Post today covers the visit of New Caledonia’s President Germain to the Agence Universitaire Francophonie (AUF) site opposite VIT where the foundation stone for two more classrooms was laid. NC President Philippe Germain said he was glad to be at the campus to unveil the stone. “New Caledonia is a close neighbour of Vanuatu and a good friend with good relations, sharing culture, in Melanesian Art, and having strong ties,” he said.

Daily Post yesterday covered the Opposition Leader raising questions concerning the absence of the Foreign Minister, Bruno Lengkone, from the Budget session yesterday. Kalsakau also queried whether the trip was paid for by Vanuatu.

A TC Pam photo exhibition was opened yesterday at the National Archives by the returned Cultural Centre Director Lazare Asal and Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer, whose office did a great deal to arrange the exhibition to mark the anniversary of TC Pam. The event was attended by the Head of State, Prime Minister and many distinguished guests.

Unelco is extending its services to Beverly Hills and Bellevue and as far as Rentabau Bridge it is hoped, Lands Minister Ralph Regenvanu has announced. The water service contract held by Unelco is being amended to enable this extension so that these areas do not lose water quality as they did with TC Pam.

Daily Post today has a damning report on the management of NISCOL, the Luganville wharfage facility. “Will NISCOL ever liberate itself from the chokehold of politics?” the article asks. Acting CEO John Salong told Daily Post that a new and qualified CEO is being recruited and it is hoped he can take office this week. The company receives its new wharf soon and Salong says “everyone is fed up with the wrangling in NISCOL and looking forward to a better NISCOL in future.”