Bauerfield upgrade costs now double; Govt to begin repaying Cyclone Pam repair loans

Finally under way – the contractors' truck on the tarmac at Bauerfield earlier this week

Bauerfield International Airport – additional repairs complete by early October, major redevelopment works due in 2017

The Government has approved an additional Vt 40 million to the existing Vt 52 million loan facilities with the World Bank for the upgrading of Bauerfield Airport. Airports Vanuatu Ltd said that re-checking of the estimates put forward had to be completed before the major works scheduled for 2017 could be undertaken, and thus the amount stated as to be required had to be almost doubled for this year. AVL said finishing and patching up should be completed before the end of September or early in October. It is next April when the major works begin. Some 22 expressions of interest have been lodged for the next phase of the development of Bauerfield International Airport. This will see new international and domestic terminals as well as runways and engineering facilities. Most of the applicants are Chinese companies. (Daily Post)

Government will start repaying the large, new loans related to Cyclone Pam restoration over the next couple of years. The Treasury reported some big new projects related to repairing cyclone damage will have repayments scheduled from next year. These projects include infrastructure, reconstruction and improvement works worth billions of Vatu. 50% of this amount is loans, and 50% grants. The total includes money from the Asian Development Bank. Road reconstruction and school rebuilding constitute major projects. (Radio Vanuatu)

Today we learn of a new ATR 72-600 aircraft for Air Vanuatu. It has the lowest seat per mile cost and is believed to be the best plane for regional transit. Air Vanuatu is looking at a Vila / Santo / Nouméa route.

It is ten years since the disastrous fire which destroyed the country’s principal court building — the historical Joint Court. Chief Justice Lunabek once again expressed his disappointment at the Government’s failure to build new facilities for the Courts. Justice Minister Warsal promised to continue to keep the issue before Government. It is a matter strongly supported by the media as well. (Daily Post)

The launch of the Kava Strategy and Quality Standards for Kava Exports will take place on Friday at the Tagabe Agricultural Station. Kava is the third largest export commodity from Vanuatu and while the Kava Act of 2002 has been in force since then, policing and enforcement of the Act has not occurred. The Agriculture Ministry’s Howard Aru said that a working group has prioritised establishing specific standards for the export of kava with help from PHAMA and the FAO. Fiji, Tonga and Samoa are also working on standards and Fiji has finally established a Kava Act just a few months ago. (Daily Post)

While the Vanua’aku Pati is preparing for the Congress in a fortnight at Hog Harbour, there will be no election of VP office bearers or new President at that time. The top post is presently being held by Vice President Joe Natuman. The next election will be in 2018.

Ambrym MP Albert William has confirmed to people of Pentecost the support of the 25 backbenchers to the government of Charlot Salwai for the remainder of their term in office. The eleventh Parliament will have only one PM he promised. (Radio Vanuatu)