Vanuatu’s information technology sector on display at ICT Days; VBTC to tax imported TVs and radios to raise revenue

Vanuatu ICT Days

Daily Post today reports five Ministries have achieved 80% of their 100 Day Plans which will be covered in detail in tomorrow’s Vanuatu Daily Digest.

PM Charlot Salwai stressed the importance of Vanuatu’s National ICT Policy at his opening of the two ICT days in Port Vila this morning. The National ICT Policy is important for governance, he said, and for education and the maintenance of culture. And he emphasized, too, the importance of Vanuatu’s Universal Access Policy for internet accessibility for 98% of the citizenry by January 2018. The third big winner in Vanuatu informational policy planning, he added, was in the work done for the Right to Information legislation. He called on all present in the magnificent Convention Centre’s first activity to embrace these themes in their ICT policies in Vanuatu, partners and sponsors of the day’s events at the Centre alike.

Watch the ICT Day live stream on Youtube below, or visit the ICT Day official event page here:

The opening ceremony saw the ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao stressing by video connection the importance of ICT for entrepreneurship through the social impact it has. And ITU Advisor Sameer Sharma in person connected Vanuatu’s two workshops with the sustainable development goals required for Small Island Developing States’ unique problems and needs. The ITU had assisted Vanuatu with national broadband plans and drafted policies to assist Vanuatu and was also involved in cyberspace security.

Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer was pleased that Australia had been able to assist ICT development in Vanuatu, especially with cybersecurity. The importance of ICT was noted during the passage of Cyclone Pam. Australia is providing funding for regional ICT innovative projects through its Pacific Humanitarian Challenge project where disasters in the region of Small Island Developing States are of special concern.

VBTC has taken steps to increase revenue. VBTC General Manager Fred Vurobaravu said fees and levies are to be charged on imported radio or TV equipment. VBTC expects to receive over Vt 200 million from the new revenue initiative. The decision was taken by the new Board after the PM and Finance Minister stressed the need for State Owned Enterprises to reach self-financing positions to help the national government deliver services. PM Salwai has stressed the need for broadcasters to be up-to-date with their licence payments. Telsat Pacific and FM107 have been given notice that their grace period to bring fee payments up-to-date has ended and legal action is being taken. (Radio Vanuatu News)

Tafea now has its own provincial disaster management office. Climate Change Minister Ham Lini officially opened the facility last Friday afternoon. The European Union has funded the provincial facility with assistance from the World Bank, to the extent of Vt 26 million, and the building will house disaster and climate change, meteorological and environment offices. (Radio Vanuatu)