The Deputy Prime Minister has expressed his displeasure at the lack of the presence of Director Generals at a crucial trade meeting in Port Vila.

Speaking at the opening of the National Trade Development Committee Meeting at The Melanesian Hotel in Port Vila Friday, Mr Natuman, who is also Minister for Trade, Tourism, Industry, and Cooperatives, said it was important to have the attendance of the highest civil servants at the meeting.

“Where are the Director Generals and Directors of Departments?” he asked.

“We need their attendance so we can get their views on the important topics to be discussed.

“At the next meeting of the National Trade Development Committee I want to see the presence of the Director Generals.”

This is the second time such concern was raised by a senior government minister at the poor attendance of Director Generals at an important government meeting called to discuss important development matters.

Last year, the Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, also expressed his concern that only one government minister and no director generals were at the opening of that particular meeting.

In his opening address as chair of the NTDC, Mr Natuman reminded everyone that the meeting was called to discuss trade and private sector growth.

In the first two sessions, the meeting received updates from the secretariat on the implementation of past decisions of the NTDC, on the status of implementation of trade policy framework and on Aid for Trade Project, managed by the Trade Development Division of the ministry.

In the third session, the director of the Department of Tourism gave an update on the development of the tourism sector.

Following that a presentation from the directors of the Departments of Industry and Agriculture and Rural Development on new developments in the departments focusing on closer cooperation.

In the afternoon, the meeting Department of External Trade gave an update on the status of trade agreements and negotiations that Vanuatu is involved in.

The next session had a representative of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to present a proposal for regional mobility and harmonization of business practices in the Pacific.

The final session received an update on the big trade infrastructure projects in Vanuatu given by a representative of the Vanuatu Project Management Unit.

About 50 participants from the ministry of trade, the tourism sector, private sector, donor governments and agencies and government departments took part in the full day meeting.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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