CONCERNS RAISED IN VANUATU OVER INFLUX OF CHINESE RETAILERS

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More than 87 new Chinese shops in Port Vila

By Godwin Ligo PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 4, 2012) - Over 87 new Chinese retail shops have emerged throughout the Capital that have become much of a concern among the ni-Vanuatu population.

The 87 new Chinese retail shops exclude those well established before Independence in the main center of Port Vila.

A high percentage of the new Chinese retail shops are established in most suburbs of Port Vila and within the Port Vila Municipal boundaries.

The members of the ni-Vanuatu general public have already begun raising serious questions as to why the Government authorities have allowed too many Chinese nationals into the country to set up general retail shops that were supposed to be reserved under a category of business to be undertaken by ni-Vanuatu citizens only.

The members of the Vanuatu public have also questioned why the Chinese retail shop owners do not allow ni-Vanuatu citizens to be employed in the positions of cashiers.

Other questions raised relate to the salaries and wages of the employees in the Chinese shops which some alleged are below the national minimum wage level.

One ni-Vanuatu citizen that called Daily Post to voice his concern over the issue of more Chinese shops appearing throughout Port Vila questioned why government agencies allow too many Chinese entering Vanuatu simply to establish general retail shops which were supposed to be reserved for ni-Vanuatu only.

The ni-Vanuatu citizen who raised his concern over the issue with Daily Post further questioned: "Is Vanuatu going to allow Port Vila to become Beijing or Shanghai or Hong Kong of Vanuatu?" he questioned.

However, some ni-Vanuatu citizens argued that the new Chinese retail and wholesale outlets have provided much employment opportunities for many ni-Vanuatu men and women who would have not otherwise be able to earn living if not employed by Chinese shops as there’s not much employment opportunities in other business sectors in Vanuatu.

Then there are others who also argued that it is because of the Chinese retail shops that enables high percentage of the ni-Vanuatu population to be able to afford electronic goods as the TV sets, the radio and stereo sets, housing materials, furniture items and much more items with affordable prices. They argued that had it not been for these Chinese retail shops hundreds of ni-Vanuatu citizens would not be able to have same luxurious items that only ni-Vanuatu people working for higher wages can afford and which are only available at the shops that are expensive.

But some ni-Vanuatu citizens argued the quality of items sold in Chinese retail shops are of poor and low quality that do not last long.

One particular ni-Vanuatu stated: "It is not a matter of employing more ni-Vanuatu, or giving the best prices for their goods that count, what is really a concern here is the fact that we are witnessing far too many Chinese retail and wholesale shops appearing all over our Capital Port Vila and this is surely not the objective of our Independence," he said.

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