The new Lands Minister, Paul Telukluk, said one of the important matters for the Kilman-led Government to consider is for the expansion of the Port Vila township, because Port Vila town is becoming congested.

He made the remarks during a briefing with his Ministry Department Heads yesterday morning.

The new Lands Minister said there have been talks and discussions in the past with the Chiefs and Land owners on Efate in regard expansion of Port Vila but this need needs be resurrected through further dialogues.

He said he is fully aware of the importance of land issues, not only on Efate but elsewhere in the country in regard growth of the capital city of Vanuatu, the government has a mandate to ensure long term physical planning for Port Vila city must be seriously addressed and solutions found instead of turning a blind eye to an issue crucial for the development of the capital city of Vanuatu as the commercial centre for the nation.

“The new government is also committed to encourage both local and foreign investors to look to Luganville on Santo for economic and social development because Santo has more space and also other islands of Vanuatu to be in line with the decentralization policy.

“Of course, important infrastructures such as good electricity, water, roads, airports, wharves, schools, hospitals are a must to attract foreign investors in particular, but these are the realities and the costs that must be in place to attract foreign investors in particular.

“This government is committed to find ways to realize these initiatives that will provide more employment opportunities to the people in the islands, raise standard of living for the rural population and meeting the objectives of the Provincial and Decentralization policies,” the new Lands Minister Telukluk told the Daily Post after meeting his senior departments heads and representatives.

“With more major and important economic development projects spreading out into the rural areas of Vanuatu, these will provide more jobs for the people in the rural areas and hopefully, reduce too much urban migration hence reducing high rate of crimes in Port Vila.’’

He said he understands fully well that land issue is a major obstacle to the economic development in the rural areas, but strongly believes there are always answers that can be reach with land owners through dialogue and good understanding for the good economic development for all the people of Vanuatu.

The new Lands Minister said if all lands that are suitable for the economic developments in Vanuatu are fully developed, there will be high demand for employment within Vanuatu for the people that will also lead to are better standard of living for this country, achieving the goals for economic self-reliance which is the hope for the people of Vanuatu upon gaining independence in 1980.

“As far as Port Vila city is concern, the issue of expansion of the township and a long term physical planning must be urgently and seriously addressed because Port Vila will always face natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes and therefore a well conceive long term physical planning to sustain and accommodate more commercial, industrial and other economic activities must be put in place, Telukluk said.

“This includes expansion of the township subject to land space agreements with the chiefs and land owners on Efate.”

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