Vanuatu daily news digest | 25 June 2014

There was no Vanuatu Daily News Digest yesterday, but the main items from both days are in this morning’s bulletin.

Prime Minister Natuman has left the country to attend an MSG summit in Port Moresby. One of the main items on their agenda is the report of the MSG ministerial visit to West Papua earlier in the year. There will also be a report concerning candidates for the position of Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum. Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu occupies the post of Acting Prime Minister during the absence of Natuman reported VBTC News this morning.

Radio Vanuau also advised the signing today of the first contract for subsidized shipping to remote outer islands. The outer islands of Tafea Province are the first to benefit under the scheme, and Daily Post today advises MV Touraken has won the contract. The Asian Development Bank and a New Zealand grant are providing the funds for the service along with the Vanuatu Government. The Vanuatu Inter-island Shipping Support Project governs the initiative worth 2.4 billion vatu. Tender documents for the operations to West Coast Santo and Torba Province will be issued soon by the Ministry of Public Works.

An interesting letter in yesterday’s Daily Post highlights the desirability of using the tendering process in projects such as the airport planned for Rentabau. The advice of independent technical advisors in the fields of finance, economics, civil aviation and engineering, along with legal advice, should be sought the letter writer said. "The government task force members tried to defend the government by justifying" that "the deal would count as a catalyst to boost our economy."

Today’s Daily Post reports Vanuatu not participating in the Fifth Melanesian Arts Festival beginning Friday owing to lack of funds. Vanuatu Kaljeral Senta (VKS) Director, Marcellin Abong, said the previous PM had assured him there would be money to send a delegation. On this basis a 28-man dance team from Tongoa had been in the capital for the last three months preparing, he said. (PM Natuman returns to Vanuatu before the weekend following the MSG ministerial summit.)

In Daily Post Letters today, consultant Levi Tarosa urges the government to use "Unimproved Land Value" as the basis for determining appropriate land rental figures when it comes to re-instate the rent review process. He supports government in reviewing land rentals.