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Author: Vila Times Editor

Supermarkets in Fiji forced to drastically reduce prices

Fiji Government’s initiatives forced local supermarkets to reduce prices significantly, while the Government of Vanuatu intents to take more money out of its people’s pockets and those investors, who are still in the country, with new taxes. Supermarkets in Fiji have drastically reduced prices over the last few months, providing Fijians their best shopping deals. The Supermarket competition started through Government’s initiatives carried out by the Fiji Competition and Consumer Council (FCCC), reports FBC News. FCCC, Chief Executive, Joel Abraham says this supermarket war has created a very competitive market and changed the landscape of doing business. “The FCCC...

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Taiwanese company to build solar panel manufacturing plant in Solomon Islands

International investors keep choosing Solomon Islands, Samoa, Fiji and other Pacific countries to invest in innovative business projects, while avoiding Vanuatu with its unpredictable government and unfriendly business environment. Solomon Islands will soon have its own solar panel manufacturing plant, according to the Taiwanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands. During a speech at Taiwan’s National Day celebrations in Honiara this week, the ambassador, Roger Luo, told the audience that leading Taiwanese solar manufacturer, Speedtech, would be coming to the Hapi Isles to set up a solar panel factory in Honiara early next year, reports SIBC. He said the arrangement came...

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World Bank economist says income tax in Vanuatu – not such a bad idea

World Bank economist Kim Edwards commented recent news that Vanuatu Council of Ministers adopted a controversial report from its Revenue Review Committee, which will essentially be paving way for income tax to be introduced. According to Kim Edwards, introducing the income tax, quite a controversial thing by itself, and strongly opposed by the majority of business owners and ordinary people in Vanuatu, might be not such a bad idea. “Overall, I think it is a good idea. Obviously, the devil will be in the detail, in the implementation, but I think that income tax is something fairly standard across...

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Ambae evacuees to return home in November

A state of emergency in Vanuatu has been extended for another two weeks. Vanuatu’s Council of Ministers made the decision for the island of Ambae during an urgent meeting Tuesday, reports RNZI. Eleven thousand people were evacuated from Ambae. They have been in camps on Santo, Maewo and Pentecost, awaiting a decision from the government on when they can return to their island. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai said the extension would allow more time for assessments before letting people return, and followed advice from the Disaster Management Office and the Geo-Hazards Department. He said the Council of Ministers has...

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Study: more than 30% of kids are obese in Nauru, Cook Islands and Palau

The world had 10 times as many obese children and teenagers last year than in 1975, but underweight kids still outnumbered them, a new study said Wednesday. Obesity ballooned in every region in the world, while the number of underweight children slowly decreased everywhere except south and Southeast Asia, and central, east and West Africa. In Nauru, the Cook Islands and Palau, more than 30 percent of children and teenagers were obese in 2016. In some countries in Polynesia and Micronesia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Caribbean and the United States, more than one in five children were...

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Dental team to visit Vanuatu’s Torres Islands

Villages in the north of Vanuatu are about to get a dental check up, as a team prepares to travel to the Torres islands to carry out the national oral health survey. The project is being led by New Zealand dental therapist Elizabeth Webb, reports Pacific Beat. She’s been running the survey on the southernmost island of Aneityum, where also helping to set up a clinic and advocate for better dental services. Ms Webb says the data collected will help inform a much-needed national oral health plan. At the same time, the team will also be performing basic procedures...

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Vanuatu to experience two or more big cyclones till May 2018

Eight to ten named tropical cyclones are expected to form in the Southwest Pacific basin between November and April. Analysis by forecasting centres across the Southwest Pacific shows tropical cyclone activity is expected to higher around the Coral Sea and west of the International Date Line, and lower further east, reports NIWA. New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga may experience two or more cyclones during the season, while three or four severe cyclones of Category 3 or higher, are expected anywhere across the region during the season that starts next month and lasts until the end of April. Oceanic...

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Ronan Harvey: All Significant Investors Are Fleeing Vanuatu

Ronan Harvey, owner of the largest private airport in Europe, wealthy international investor and businessman, in exclusive interview for Vila Times talks about his experience doing business in Vanuatu, what made him decide to sell his property and leave the country, and why so many other investors have left Vanuatu in recent years.   ‘I was the fifth largest investor in Vanuatu’   Hi Ronan! If I understand right, several years ago you have been one of the largest investors in Vanuatu. And also one of the most famous international businessmen to invest in Vanuatu. Could you tell us...

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Vanuatu MVA leaders shared their stories at Pacific Women Conference in Fiji

Six women leaders of market vendor associations (MVA) from Vanuatu, Fiji and Solomon Islands have been sharing their personal stories of hardship and success at the 13th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 6th Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women in Suva, Fiji. These women, through their MVAs, are leading, representing and advocating for the needs of all market vendors, specifically women, working in the informal economy with support from UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) project – principally funded by the Australian Government. “Though people see market vendors as ordinary women, their contribution in terms of the money...

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UN: disaster risk outpaces resilience in Asia-Pacific

Disaster risk is outpacing resilience in Asia-Pacific and putting people in this most disaster-prone region at risk of being pushed back into poverty, the latest report from a United Nations regional commission has revealed. “Disasters can very quickly strip poor people of their livelihoods bringing deeply disruptive impacts that push them back into absolute poverty or trap them in an intergenerational transmission of poverty,” said Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), as she launched the report in Bangkok. Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2017 shows that the greatest impacts of...

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