MSG countries approve Free Trade Agreement; Unelco delivers big dividend to National Provident Fund

MSG

A new MSG Free Trade Agreement has been approved this week in Port Vila. Trade Ministers of the MSG member countries and territories (Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands and the FLNKS of New Caledonia) have agreed on the detail, but the document still has to proceed to the next Leaders’ conference. (Daily Post)

Unelco has paid a dividend to the Vanuatu National Provident Fund. In 2015 the VNPF acquired a 14.4% stake in Unelco for the development and management of the company. The dividend the VNPF is now receiving amounts to nearly Vt 40 million. The VNPF ownership of part of the company is said to be likely to help the energy provider to increase access to electricity and drinkable water and foster economic and social development. (Daily Post)

Parliamentary Secretary positions are increasing with the announcement by the Council of Ministers that a new one is to be appointed for the Ministry of Youth and Sport. At present the position has not been filled. The portfolio of the Ministry of Youth and Sport is currently held by the Prime Minister. Parliamentary Secretaries in place are: PS to the PM Jonnny Koanapo, Education PS Silas Bule, Provincial Affairs PS Andrew Napuat and PS for Fisheries Gracia Chadrack. Parliamentary secretaries assist their ministries by advancing the work agreed to by Parliament in that ministry. (Daily Post)

South Sea Shipping has revealed eight new cruise ships will visit this year. South Sea Shipping General Manager John Tanner said the number increases every year. The cruise industry is improving continually, he added. There are now more cruise ship visits planned than ever before. The Vanuatu Tourism Office has been doing its best to improve the number of tourists arriving by all means after Cyclone Pam, especially from Australia and New Zealand. (Radio Vanuatu)

A Solomon Islands pastor, Nehemia Martine Paola, has been expelled from Vanuatu after fathering children with different mothers and following complaints from the Solomons Department of Women’s Affairs. (Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post)