Vanuatu wins award from FAO for its fight against illegal fishing; Chamber of Commerce calls for higher VAT rate

Moana Matariki of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the EU Roy Mickey Joy and his wife Shirley with the FAO award

Moana Matariki of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the EU Roy Mickey Joy and wife Shirley at the FAO award ceremony in Rome, Italy. Photo: supplied

Both Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post have in the last two days covered Vanuatu winning an award from the Food and Agriculture Organisation for our fighting illegal, unregulated and reported (IUU) fishing. Apparently in 2013 we were awarded a “yellow card” for our failure to control fishing activities of the many Vanuatu flagged vessels which have joined Vanuatu’s registry. However in 2014 the level was lifted to green. And subsequently we have agreed to various Port State Measures under an agreement which has been around since 2009 and which has further curbed illegal activities.

Daily Post today leads with a detailed report of the Chamber of Commerce concerning the Chamber’s recommendation that suggestions of introducing a new income tax should be put aside in favour of raising the rate of VAT to 15%. The present rate of VAT is 12.5% and well below the global average of 15.2%, the Chamber adds. They have further added that a change in the tax haven status might have dire effects on foreign direct investment. Tony Sewen, director of the Treasury was doubtful that the Chamber’s prognostications would fulfill the objectives sought by the  Revenue Revue Committee which he also chairs. In a matter of days the Government will be deciding on a revenue reform process. (Daily Post)

Deputy PM Joe Natuman has warned all participants in MSG activities to be careful in meetings as regards what they say. He said too that they must be well-prepared before they go. This is because of the issue of West Papua failing to go through at the recent Honiara meeting. (Radio Vanuatu)

Public Service Commission Chairman Martin Mahe has requested the Police to assist in their task of securing Government vehicles after work hours. All Government transport, except cars of ministers, DGs, and essential health and security personnel, is to be locked up at the workplace every afternoon at close of business until the next day in the morning. He is also getting tough about official work hours being properly observed to avoid unnecessary costs. (Radio Vanuatu)