‘Independent Pacific’ is theme for Fest’Napuan 2016; Parliament annulment judgement awaited

Fest'Napuan 2016 logo

‘Independence in the Pacific’ is the theme for this year’s Fest’Napuan, as announced today. The Fest’Napuan committee reminds musicians that the deadline for international artists’ applications to play at the 2016 festival is July 1. The deadline for local artists is August 1. More info and application forms are available at www.festnapuan.vu.

It is not entirely clear at this time whether the Appeals Court has decided in favour of the Opposition or the Government as regards the annulment of the Parliament sitting this week. There are conflicting reports. It is hoped a judgement in the matter (taken to the Court by the Government) will be decided without delay.

Daily Post today says that 11 MPs who boycotted last Thursday’s Special Sitting have in error been paid their allowances for that day. This is to be rectified with their next payments.

One major item in President Lonsdale’s address before Parliament on Monday was his call for the provision of the committee to assist the Head of State on pardons and reduction of sentences. Daily Post today reminds us of the issue as regards the 14 MPs imprisoned in relation to corruption and bribery charges.

VBTC says it has a new agreement with Unelco to restore power services and the national broadcaster to settle the huge debt of Vt 5.4 million for providing Unelco electricity to Radio Vanuatu. The power supply company shut off the electricity last week and VBTC could only manage to keep its emergency electrification going until Monday. VBTC GM Fred Vurobaravu said the Corporation had fulfilled its obligation to government to get the full shortwave service operational since April 2016 by finding Vt 7.2 million outstanding to Unelco. He said the government needs to give more to ensure Radio Vanuatu is able to perform its essential service role. Board Chairman Jerety apologised for the failure’s happening at a time when Parliament was to be broadcast. (Daily Post)

Finance Minister Gaetan Pikioune states today that new revenue initiatives are being planned in a National Revenue Reform. These include discussions on personal and corporate taxes. Public consultation, however, is also planned between July and September. Two working committees are being established. One is mainly concerned with a review of revenue policies, the other with revenue governance. Minister Pikioune mentioned that joining the WTO and commitments to Pacer Plus will affect revenue streams such as import duties and excise taxes. “However, the Government will continue to ensure that Vanuatu remains a competitive place for investment with reasonable tax regimes in the region,” he said in Daily Post today.