PM wants reviews of funds pledged for Cyclone Pam relief, overseas missions

File picture of PM Charlot Salwai at the UN. Photo: UN Photo

File picture of PM Charlot Salwai at the UN. Photo: UN Photo

Radio Vanuatu News has this morning chosen to concentrate on a couple of issues highlighted by PM Charlot Salwai in a press conference yesterday on his return from the UN. One is the number of as-yet-unfulfilled promises of other countries towards Vanuatu following Cyclone Pam. He acknowledged the overwhelming response of many in contributing to the relief fund, directly or through NGOs. However his government wants to check that amounts promised really have contributed to restoration of services and not been lost along the way to various agencies rather than the areas of need.

Radio Vanuatu also picked up the PM’s finding on recent tours overseas that Vanuatu’s missions in other countries are poorly financed and insufficiently established to carry out their appointed tasks. The government needs a service policy in this regard, he said. Some overseas posts may well have to be terminated, the PM said, in order that the important ones are properly funded.

Daily Post has been bringing us helpful comments from the Taxation Consultation and from the Vanuatu Revenue Review Team from their Facebook page. The income tax regime is proposed to be introduced in two stages. Salary and wage taxation would begin in July 2017 with personal and corporate income tax in January 2018. Royson Willie goes on to say “the government is expecting in its coffers an extra Vt 600 million in 2017 when tax on salaries and wages is introduced and VT 4.4 billion in 2018.” According to the Vanuatu Revenue Review team, Government in return is looking at abolishing rent tax, reducing or abolishing business licences to just an administrative fee, reducing import duties starting in January 2018, reviewing excise tax, reducing turnover tax, and a “possible” drop in VAT in future along with a “possible” review of VIPA fees. (Daily Post yesterday)

Another item from Daily Post yesterday is the “comeback call” of the Vanua’aku Pati from the Hog Harbour Congress to those parties and groupings which broke away from the VP mainstream over the years. The VP Office says “the comeback policy will be a major strategic policy for the party to maintain stability and good governance in this nation.”