Australia set to relax restrictions on Vanuatu kava imports

Australia to allow Vanuatu kava imports again

The big news today is very good news: Australia eases kava restriction, with the subtitle “Dr [Vincent] Lebot welcomes work of scientists.” Australian experts see potential for kava to be used as an alternative to benzodiazepines to cope with anxiety disorders. While it may still take a long time for kava to be available in Australia, this news validates Vanuatu’s work on the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius to ensure kava is safe as a beverage. (Daily Post)

Consultations on revenue raising and income tax continue next week in the last centres where they have not yet occurred. The information team is travelling around the country to ensure that people in the main population centres can contribute to the discussion on how best to fund Government services in the future. Responses of the citizenry are being noted. Only after these discussions will a decision concerning new revenue-raising measures be taken by the Council of Ministers. (Radio Vanuatu)

Dengue fever hot spots are centred on highly-populated Efate and Santo, health authorities have told Radio Vanuatu News. Specific areas have been identified in both main islands. (Radio Vanuatu)

The Asian Development Bank has approved an additional US$ 2.87 million (Vt 303 million) in funds for the Port Vila Urban Development Project to improve roads, sanitation and drainage in the capital. The extra funds will strengthen climate change  resilience and disaster preparedness, said Nancy Wells of the ADB. Port Vila, as the commercial and tourist centre, generates almost two thirds of the national Gross Domestic Product.

The Finance Minister Gaetan Pikioune has ordered Pentecost’s Apma Financial Investment Centre (AFIC) to come under the supervision of the Reserve Bank. The central bank’s responsibility is to ensure AFIC, like all co-operatives, operates in a manner that protects members’ interests. AFIC has been operating on Pentecost and from offices opposite Police headquarters in Port Vila. AFIC Director Barnabas Tabi says in Daily Post he has never been advised of the new requirements although it must, of course, be questioned whether failure to advise him makes any difference in the matter. This story likely has a long way to run yet.