Govt appoints new DGs; scale of VNPF’s non-performing investments substantial

Statue outside Vanuatu's Parliament

Six acting Directors-General have been appointed by Government. They are Sam Namuri (Public Works), Benjamin Shing (Agriculture), Michael Mangawai (Lands), Pakoa Siri (Justice), Jesse Dick (Education) and George Borugu (Trade and Tourism). They have all been advised of what is expected of them as Directors General and have been notified of the consequences of misconduct. A performance review will take place in 12 months. There are specific terms of reference for two DGs relating to Cyclone Pam recovery for Trade and Tourism, and the backlog in processing customary land ownership and leases for Lands. (Daily Post)

The total of non-performing investments considered by the Vanuatu National Provident Fund Commission of Inquiry is colossal. There were VNPF loans for both properties and equities including Read the rest of this entry »

Australian ministerial delegation visits Vanuatu — as end of Australian shortwave broadcasts to Pacific is announced

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, arrived today in Port Vila, leading a bipartisan delegation including International Development and Pacific Minister, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and their Opposition counterparts, Senator Penny Wong and Senator Claire Moore. Photo: DFAT

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, arrived today in Port Vila, leading a bipartisan delegation including International Development and Pacific Minister, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and their Opposition counterparts, Senator Penny Wong and Senator Claire Moore. Photo: DFAT

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, and the Minister for International Development and the Pacific Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells are visiting Vanuatu today and have been discussing the Australia’s development aid program with Vanuatu officials. An investment package of A$1.5 million (Vt 120.3 million) is also on the agenda and a new aid partnership agreement is to be signed. Management of health supplies and medicines is an important element in this regard. (Radio Vanuatu)

The visit of the Australian Government ministers responsible for the Australia’s relationship with the Pacific coincides with the announcement by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that their Pacific islands shortwave broadcasting service is to cease. Radio Australia which has served the region well over many decades. These broadcasts will terminate in Read the rest of this entry »

Govt says contracts of five Director-Generals won’t be renewed in public service shake up

Vanuatu flag. Photo copyright © 2016 Vanuatu Daily Digest. All rights reserved

“No More DGs?” Daily Post asks, upon learning that the Council of Ministers had decided not to renew the contracts of some five DGs. Lands Minister Regenvanu admitted at the summit of Leaders for the National Sustainable Development Plan that a Council of Ministers’ decision had been taken as regards the five, whose contracts expire next week. They will not have their contracts Read the rest of this entry »

MSG members to meet on 20th December to discuss West Papua’s membership

Supporters of full membership of MSG for West Papua demonstrate in Port Vila last April. Photo: AWPA

Vanuatu supporters of West Papua full membership of MSG marching in Port Vila last April. Photo: AWPA

December 20 is now proposed as the date for the MSG Leaders Summit to discuss membership, especially West Papua’s. The meeting was postponed from the first week of October in Port Vila. The new DG Amena Yauvoli told Kizzy Kalsakau of Buzz FM Nightly News that the date awaits confirmation from MSG Leaders. The MSG Secretariat is simply awaiting a consensus on the date. (Daily Post)

The People’s Plan as outlined yesterday on this website has been under discussion today in the National Convention Centre. This National Development Plan is to cover the period from Read the rest of this entry »

Vt20B Govt budget for 2017; details released on legislation to be tabled in upcoming Parliamentary session

Vanuatu Parliament chamber

The 2017 annual budget for Government amounts to Vt 20,242,223,265. Undoubtedly this is bigger than ever before, but happily income tax is not yet required of us. The parliamentary program for the coming weeks starts next Monday with the Extra-Ordinary sitting. Then there is the Ordinary Sitting beginning on 8 December, and the Special Sitting to amend the Constitution starts on 12 December.

As we promised on the weekend, here is some additional information on each of the pieces of legislation Government will be tabling at the upcoming Parliamentary sessions:

Bill for the Right to Information Actpdf-download
The Bill provides for the guarantee of the right to information of all persons and to establish practical mechanisms supportive of that right and for related matters.

Bill for the Referendum (Amendment) Actpdf-download
For the purposes of political stability, the Vanuatu Government has launched a political and electoral reform process and, in that context, Parliament is to review a number of proposed constitutional amendments. Under Article 86 of the Constitution, such amendments to the Constitution will not Read the rest of this entry »

Extraordinary session of Parliament called – but agenda shrouded in secrecy


The big news today was carried by Radio Vanuatu, that Parliament is to meet on 21 November. This announcement was given as the usual service message from the Clerk and Speaker of Parliament and gave no details of the agenda of the extraordinary sitting. That said, MPs were told, that owing to communications and transport difficulties, they would not know what the business to be conducted during the extraordinary sitting will concern. They will only receive their packets of documents when they arrive in Port Vila.

For the Westminster democracy system to work properly, the people of Vanuatu need their representatives to be able to discuss any proposed legislation with their constituents, in their electorates, before they arrive in Parliament. It also brings up the question of the MPs constitutional rights to information. Since in recent times we have had to participate in the general discussion concerning electoral reforms and the introduction of income taxes, it behoves the state to set what we call here ‘the Awareness’ in motion at the earliest possible moment. Just saying the MPs papers can be found at the Clerk’s office when they arrive in town does not comply with the MPs’ and general public’s right to information. We will be hearing quite a lot more about rights to information (RTI) and it is to be hoped the next sitting will see Read the rest of this entry »

VNPF Commision of Inquiry gets extra time to examine Vt 4.45 billion of failed investments

money down the toilet

[Story updated 4/11/2016 to correct the earlier version’s errors of fact. Vanuatu Daily Digest sincerely apologises to all readers for this regrettable error]

The Commission of Inquiry into VNPF is being extended by two months to uncover the details behind Vt 4.454 billion of failed investments made by the national provident fund. The Commission of Inquiry is investigating alleged mismanagement and illegal activities of former and present staff of VNPF. Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry Olivier Fernandez and Assesssors Anita Jowitt and Tony Naliupis are examining the failed investments, which represent 32% of the total funds invested by VNPF between 2007 and 2014. (Daily Post)

We can expect a Chinese cruise vessel next January. Deputy PM and Tourism Minister Joe Natuman made the announcement during his visit to Read the rest of this entry »