Vanuatu daily news digest | 14 September 2013

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources says leases will not be issued unless there is a good plan as to what it is being leased out for. Negotiator certificates are not being issued for sub-division leases without water supplies and electricity and other services like roads. "We have already stopped many leases which do not have proper planning," Minister Regenvanu told VBTC News. This was said in connection with the Ministry’s outline of the far-reaching legislative changes, 30 years overdue, which are being made when consultations in the provinces are completed.

Foreign Minister Natapei has given a little more detail concerning the "loan" of vehicles to the Beijing diplomatic post for Vanuatu, mentioned earlier by MP Willie Jimmy in Parliament. Natapei understands the cars were purchased with assistance from a donor or donors. It is not certain whether this is a language problem or worse, as they seem to have been re-possessed by a subsequent ambassador there claiming they are his vehicles. One to watch.

The government audit of its Hong Kong activities has been completed and the report is with the Minister of Finance, reports VBTC News. No details were given. The Vanuatu Trade Office was opened in 2011 to raise the profile of Vanuatu as an off-shore incorporation destination for business friends in China and Hong Kong. The Permanent Residency Programme has netted revenue of approximately VT 700 million. This year there is a new product, the Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP) to increase the revenue coming to Vanuatu. The manager (legal) of the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission has told VBTC News of the completion of the audit report.

The government wants to lift the standard of Luganville wharf next year. PM Carcasses said it is important Luganville has the same wharf standard as the capital. A donor, through the Australian government, Carcasses said, is prepared to help. However, presently NISCOL controls the wharf and there are issues to be resolved. PM Carcasses hopes outstanding issues can be cleared by the end of the year.

Luganville Police have arrested Santo Rural MP Hosea Nevu (Iauko Group) following an incident in which he fought a lawyer of the Public Solicitor’s Office. He was charged with assault. Police in the northern town say they will not let leaders get involved in incidents of bad behaviour like this one. MP Neveu will be heard in court.

Two experts of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) have been in Port Vila to assist the Fisheries Department with tuna management and the development plan of Vanuatu.