Vanuatu Minister Halts Public Vehicle Licensing

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Crowby: ban in place to address Port Vila road congestion

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Sept. 25, 2013) – The Minister of Internal Affairs, Patrick Crowby, signed a ministerial Order Monday restricting the issuing of new public vehicle licenses in Vanuatu.

The order will come into effect later this week after it is registered in the official government gazette.

The Order amending the Taxis Act (CAP 49) effectively means that from January 1, 2014 there will be no new licenses for buses, taxis, and public transport vehicles.

Minister Crowby said that with this Order the powers of the vehicle licensing officer has been revoked, rendering the licensing officer powerless to issue new public vehicle licenses over the next three-and-a-half year or the term of this government.

"The licensing officer will be able to renew licenses when they are due for renewal in January next year, but he cannot issue new licenses and those licenses that are not renewed will be considered invalid and terminated and no new replacement licenses will be issued," Crowby said.

He stressed that one of the main reasons for the decision is the traffic congestion on Port Vila roads today caused in most parts by the large number of public vehicles.

In addition to the Taxi (Restriction on the issuing of new Public Vehicle Licenses Amendment Order, the Minister of Internal Affairs Patrick Crowby signed two other Orders in his office in Port Vila.

The first is an Order amending schedule 15 of the Liquor License Act (CAP 52) and increasing the liquor license by 20% effective January 1, 2014. On signing the order, Crowby said the last increase in the liquor license was made in 2001.

"It is now 2013 and this Order effectively gives a 20% increase on all categories of the liquor license. For example, the license for night clubs is Vt74,250 [US$777], and from January 1 next year it will go up 20% to Vt89,100 [US$932]," Crowby added.

The third Order signed by Minister Crowby Monday was the Validity and Application for Passports (Amendment) Order. It sets out fees payable for issuance of a Vanuatu passport to: a child aged from 0 to less than 3 years old – Vt1,500 [US$15]; a child aged from 3 years to less than 6 years old – Vt2,000 [US$20]; a child aged from 6 to less than 17 years ago – Vt3,000 [US$31]; a person aged 17 years old upwards – Vt7,000 [US$73] for up to 21 days processing time; and non-government officials attending a meeting, sporting event, or festival on behalf of the Government of Vanuatu – Vt3,000 for up to 21 days of processing time.

Under the new Order, fees payable for issuance of a certificate of identity or travel document to: a child aged from 0 to less than 18 years old – Vt3,000; and a person aged from 18 years old upwards – Vt7,000 for up to 21 days processing time.

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