Govt appoints new DGs; scale of VNPF’s non-performing investments substantial

Statue outside Vanuatu's Parliament

Six acting Directors-General have been appointed by Government. They are Sam Namuri (Public Works), Benjamin Shing (Agriculture), Michael Mangawai (Lands), Pakoa Siri (Justice), Jesse Dick (Education) and George Borugu (Trade and Tourism). They have all been advised of what is expected of them as Directors General and have been notified of the consequences of misconduct. A performance review will take place in 12 months. There are specific terms of reference for two DGs relating to Cyclone Pam recovery for Trade and Tourism, and the backlog in processing customary land ownership and leases for Lands. (Daily Post)

The total of non-performing investments considered by the Vanuatu National Provident Fund Commission of Inquiry is colossal. There were VNPF loans for both properties and equities including Bouffa, Milai, Stella Mare, Etas, the National Bank, Club Vanuatu, Banian, Pekoa, Customs, Claire Doric, SPOL Efate, Milai SPOL, Wilco, Interchange Submarine, and Interchange Ltd. The question of the purchases of plantations made or maintained during the general managership of Anniva Tarilongi when her husband was Director of Livestock was raised again. The media dealt with this in some detail in 2011. Tarilongi maintained that everything that was done at the time “was done in the best interests of the VNPF”. The COI reviewed over 5,000 documents and interviewed 26 people. The Commission’s report is now being prepared for the Minister of Justice. (Daily Post)

The Vanuatu Council of Ministers has approved the strategic planning and aid policy coordination document Vanuatu 2030 which will govern development in the country for the next 15 years. The department (DESPAC) has been working on the report for three years. The last validation summit was held in November. Vanuatu 2030 has aimed at producing a stable, sustainable and prosperous Vanuatu in the 15-year period to come. (Radio Vanuatu).

New Caledonian confectionery maker Biscochoc is taking over the Metenesel Cocoa Development Project in Lambumbu, Malekula from 1 January 2017. The original lease for Metenesel was signed in 1983. The Chairman of Metenesal, Howard Aru, called on land owners and the new company to work together, and for land owners to put aside differences in the interests of the development of the site and business. (Daily Post)

Vanuatu’s Trade Commissioner in Australia, Donald Pelam, has added his voice to the many protesting the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s closure of its shortwave services to the Pacific. This is due to happen in January. He sees it as a disaster, so many Pacific people needing the service for cyclone and tsunami information. The Pacific Islands News Association — PINA — has also expressed its great concern. (Radio Vanuatu)

The expulsion of Ambrym MP Albert Williams from the Graon mo Jastis Party by its President Ralph Regenvanu has made no difference to Williams’ support on the island, his campaign manager claims. Ongoing voter support relates to their not wanting income tax, he further claims. (Daily Post)