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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (September 25, 1998 - PACNEWS/Amy)---The Vanuatu government has agreed to set up a task force to develop a long-term strategy for managing and maintaining government buildings and to initiate a new national Census.

The task force plan was agreed to by the Council of Ministers following reports presented by Minister of Finance and Economic Management Sela Molisa and Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities Stanley Reginald, which discussed the backlog of buildings in need of repair and routine maintenance.

Molisa's report also emphasized the need for standardization and coordination of computing equipment.

The Council has decided to seek private sector help in the further development of information technology services, currently provided by the Ministry.

The Council of Ministers also approved conducting a Vanuatu Census next year, and has authorized the setting up of a Census Office within the National Statistics Office.

The 1999 census will be the second national population count since independence in 1980. The last census was conducted in 1989.

The 1995 estimate of Vanuatu's population is 177,000.

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