TELECOM VANUATU DEMANDS PAYMENT FROM GOVERNMENT

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By Evelyne Toa

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (The Independent, May 30) – Telecom Vanuatu Limited, with a monopoly on telecommunications, has issued a list of 60 government offices – including ministries, departments, and agencies – owing the company 7 million vatu [US$64,695] in unpaid telephone bills.

Telecom Vanuatu Limited management has sent a letter to the ministry of finance threatening that unless payment is received by Friday, June 2, all services for those ministries, departments and agencies will be disconnected by Monday, June 5.

[PIR editor’s note: According to their website, Telecom Vanuatu Ltd is a private company owned in equal shares by the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu, France Câbles et Radio S.A. (France Telecom Group) and Cable & Wireless PLC.]

The government was further advised that telephone refills and purchase of telecards will not be allowed for ministries, departments, or agencies with outstanding telecom bills.

Government phone bills range from 1,076,570 Vanuatu vatu [US$9,949] for the ministry of health to 2,382 Vanuatu vatu [US$22] for the ministry of lands.

The Independent understands some of those departments have settled their debts.

The Government is a major shareholder of Telecom Vanuatu Limited.

June 1, 2006

Port Vila Presse: http://www.news.vu/en/

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