VANUATU PRIME MINISTER KALPOKAS LOOKS BACK ON FIRST TERM

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (February 11, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Donald Kalpokas, says his economic reform program has been necessary to win back the confidence of foreign investors.

In a review of his first year in office, Mr. Kalpokas admitted the reforms were tough, and probably the most important event since independence in 1980.

Radio Australia correspondent Danielle Guille reports from Port Vila:

"The Prime Minister said that when he took office one year ago, the country had been in a state of emergency following riots, after politicians had obtained loans -- using people's pension funds -- that never were repaid.

"Prime Minister Kalpokas said that during 1998 Parliament passed laws that isolate public institutions from political influence, and the government has stabilized the economy.

"He added that the tax reform was effective -- despite complaints by critics -- and that the downsizing of the public service was painful but necessary.

"What we have to do, he said, is to get back the confidence of foreign investors.

"He also mentioned pursuing possible land reforms in the cities in order to speed up the implementation of foreign development projects.

"Daniel Guille in Port Vila Vanuatu."

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