Radio, TV Services Restored In Vanuatu

24 hour outage resolved after amicable discussions

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 15, 2016) – Amicable round table discussions between the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC) and the Management of Unelco/Engie Vanuatu Ltd, resulted in power reconnected to the premises of the national broadcaster yesterday (Tuesday) after a power cut last Thursday due to outstanding bills of Vt5.4 million [US$50,000].

VBTC services had to be powered by standby generators through the weekend until the main standby generator at the Brodkas Haos failed on Monday this week.

The services of Radio Vanuatu, Television Blong Vanuatu (TBV) and Paradise FM 98 were off air for 24 hours.

In a Radio interview yesterday, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vanuatu Broadcasting and TV Corporation Mr Johnety Jerettee said he was happy that the discussions with Unelco were fruitful and a positive outcome has been achieved.

He revealed that the disconnection was due to accumulated bills and that it was difficult for the Management to address the issue of outstanding bills and that requires a boost on the revenue of the national broadcaster.

Mr Jerettee said he had reached a new agreement with Unelco to settle the outstanding Vt5.4 million in installments.

VBTC had already paid off Vt7.2 million [US$66,000] last month (May 2016 and cannot dish out any more funds for that purpose).

He publicly apologized yesterday to the listeners of Radio Vanuatu and Paradise FM 98 as well as viewers of TBV for the inconvenience caused with the interruption of service but assures everyone that the Board will ensure that the financial situation of the Corporation improves to avoid that kind of situation in the future.

Jerettee said it was really unfortunate that the power disconnection happened on a day when the Government called Parliament to sit to pass historical constitutional amendment bills.

Meanwhile, General Manager, Fred Vurobaravu, says VBTC has met its 100-day plan of the Government to restore full coverage of Radio Vanuatu shortwave service to the islands since April 2016. But the Government needs to give more attention to the welfare and resources of VBTC to ensure that it retains its status as one of the main essential services in the country.

Mr Vurobaravu said the VBTC Board has identified the high staff and utility costs as the main issues that needed to be addressed as soon as possible therefore he expects the Government to give its approval for the funding of the redundancy program through a soft loan and Vt21 million [US$19,000 to roll out the Radio Vanuatu FM 100 network to the islands.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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