VANUATU: "RICH GETTING RICHER, WHILE POOR GET POORER"

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By Wilson Toa

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (July 12, 2000 - Vanuatu Weekly/PINA Nius Online)---The President of the Port Vila Women's Council, Mrs. Leias Cullwick, says Vanuatu is practicing the policy where "the rich get richer and the poor gets poorer."

She was speaking during the first day of the reform program national summit at Club Vanuatu.

"I attended the National Population Policy Seminar on May this year and found out that people in power are getting more power, the richer gets richer and the poor gets poorer," she stressed.

She explained that a United Nations Development Programme report show that 97% of ni-Vanuatu are receiving 70% of the measured gross domestic product (GDP) and 3% of the population are receiving 30% of measured GDP.

"The 3% of the population consist of the expatriate, the Chinese business people, Members of Parliament, ni-Vanuatu working at the Private Sector, the DG's and the Directors," said Mrs. Cullwick.

She explained that 163,348 ni-Vanuatu receive VT114 in GDP in a year and 5,052 who represent the 3% of Vanuatu's population receive VT1582 in GDP in a year.

She said the CRP matrix solidify the fact that the "rich get richer and the poor gets poorer and people in power are getting more power.

"CRP came to help ni-Vanuatu to have a good life, however it is not reflected in the present comprehensive reform program (CRP) matrix. The CRP matrix is also asking the Vanuatu government to be transparent and accountable but what about the private sector?" she asked.

Mrs. Cullwick pointed out during the summit that at the moment Private Sectors is making a lot of money in Vanuatu.

She said the Island Business in its June 2000 issue stated the companies like Unelco, TVL, Boral Gas, Mobile, Shell, the Banks, Trust Companies and Accounting Firms are protected by a "secrecy law" and the government should look again at the law and also the Tax-haven system because these companies are making US$6.billion in a year but gave the only US$ 2.2 million to the Vanuatu Government, which is less than 1 percent.

She pointed out that those companies are making millions of money here in Vanuatu, however the citizens of the country never benefit.

She stressed that these are the things that should be look at in the CRP matrix to enable the growth of Vanuatu's economy.

For additional reports from the Vanuatu Weekly/Hebdomadaire, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/ Vanuatu Weekly/Hebdomadaire.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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