VANUATU MUST ENGAGE PEOPLE IN FORMAL ECONOMY:

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Empowering ni-Vanuatu is government priority

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 9, 2011) - Empowering ni-Vanuatus to actively participate in the country’s economic sector has been identified by Prime Minster Serge Vohor as his government’s priority policy.

Minister Vohor made the statement at the end of the one-day retreat by over 100 senior government officials including Director Generals and Directors to review the current economic situation to identify solutions for the country.

"After the meeting to review the country’s development situation a conclusion has been reached that the government must help people to be part of the economic sector," Prime Minister Vohor said during a press conference after the retreat.

"The government will set up a task force made up of Director Generals and Directors to identify how the government can assist and empower the ni-Vanuatu in different sectors including agriculture services and industries.

"For example, how a custom landowner can participate in tourism industry by using his own land.

"How it can be arrange for fair shares of economic activities in every levels."

The prime minister also pointed out infrastructure as an important economic factor that also as to be improved throughout the country to stimulate the economic output of the country.

He said land is also one main issue that the current government will be focusing its attention on.

"According to a 2006 resolution there are plans for Provincial Governments to deal directly with the landowners to prevent people from other places from selling other people’s land."

The PM said real estate companies will be reconsidered as to whether their existence will continue or the country resort back to the famous quote ‘my land, my life’ which means only custom owners can sell their own land without a ‘middle man’.

It is hoped that the strategy will help sustain other sectors including Education and health, Vohor said.

In regards to education the prime minster said there are existing issues that the government aims to address.

"A World Bank study found that on average 80 percent of both English and French Class One students can’t read," said the prime minister.

"As a small and young nation I believe the government has to address the issue of school dropouts. The problem has to be identified whether it is the teachers or the education system.

"The 7000 school dropouts must have a place to go to. If the parents can’t pay for school fees then the government will have to pay."

Meanwhile the PM said 30 years is long enough for excuses and the new policy which will be formally made available soon will engage only Ni-Vans for its implementation instead of depending on outside advice as in the CRP.

"It does not mean that we will be giving free money to the people but to engage proper mechanisms in place to drive the forces of economy to all areas. This means that the government will look for avenues for its people."

Health is also another important sector which Vohor promises that the coalition he leads regards as another priority sector.

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