A function was held last Friday to celebrate how successful the government, led by Prime Minister (PM), Charlot Salwai, has been in its two years in power and at the same time reflect on the importance of unity in moving forward.
On that same date (February 6) in 2016, the Salwai-government was voted in to put the country back on the right track following political instability.
Two years in power has not been easy but an achievement in a country like Vanuatu facing regular political unrest, said the Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman. As it steps into another year, the government announced it has achieved a lot over the two-year period. PM Salwai read a long list of these achievements.
Some for example, in infrastructure are road projects across the country, wharf and airport extensions. Other projects are Bauerfield Airport upgrade, Malapoa College reconstruction and Efate ring road maintenance.
The government’s tuition fee policy to make education accessible to many children as much as possible was also mentioned.
Its agri-tourism policy to improve the capacity of agriculture as one of the largest economic sector to meet the demands of tourists whilst generating income for farmers is another achievement.
Other achievements include, approval of salary raise of government employees through the new Government Remuneration Tribunal (GRT), which still needs a lot of review; Initiatives taken by the government to bounce back economy after cyclone Pam and now able to pay retirement benefits; Setting anti money laundering laws and financing of terrorist activities in place to stop illegal income generating activities; and Commitment to foreign policy and partnering with private sector resulted to increase in construction and establishment of businesses.
These accomplishments were a result of political stability, said the PM.
He said his government would not thrive through these years without the prayers of the people and guidance from God, trust and commitment of the leaders and members of each political groupings in government.
Mr Salwai delivered the government’s vision for 2018.
All sectors must work harder to improve service delivery to rural areas was top on the list.
The governments wants to speed up in investment and growth, generate more employment for graduates; Review land laws and speed up process to lease and do development; Upgrade roads and bridges, airports with concentration on main productive islands; and increase livestock and food crops production to meet local and visitor’s consumption before export; The second phase of Tanna and Malekula road funded by China to link people to services and improve lives; An health insurance policy for government workers with Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) and insurance companies; Complete the process for state house, new ministries of finance, foreign affairs, agriculture, youth and sport and justice hall; Continue decentralization policy whereby it will equip area councils and provincial councils with resources to expand service delivery; Implement government machinery reform; continue works to expand revenue base; political reform; and complete TC Pam recovery works are some others.