Manufacturing part of GDP said to be decreasing

Minister Joe Natuman (c) is chair of the National Trade Development Committee (NTDC).

The Chair of the National Trade Development Committee (NTDC), Joe Natuman, the Minister of Tourism, Trade, Cooperatives and ni-Vanuatu Business, has shown his strong support for “Made in Vanuatu” products.

Natuman, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, emphasized his strong support for Made in Vanuatu products following a presentation on the work of the Department of Industry (DoI) including value addition of products in Vanuatu at the second meeting of the NTDC for 2017.

The presentation informed the meeting of the need to redraft the National Industrial Policy, and the Department’s support to the handicraft sector. The need for a more holistic approach to the Industrial sector was touted.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu (RBV) supported the work the DoI. He was concerned about access to credit, “which is holding back many industries from growing”.

The Director of the Department of External Trade (DoET) noted that the manufacturing part of GDP was falling.

“However, he said the key is in the value of manufacturing, which he stated has increased in recent years,” the outcome report of the meeting states.

The Director of DoI said the review of the National Industrial Policy would only focus on the governance arrangements and that the update of the Trade Policy Framework would provide a good opportunity to update the indicators for the DoI.

The New Zealand High Commission representative raised the issue of quality of handicrafts, and questioned what information tourists have about what they are able to take overseas.

He asked whether the Department had any ability to regulate foreign handicrafts, to protect the local goods.

The Director of DoI spoke about the ‘Made in Vanuatu’ definition which they are developing, so that tourists can know what products are locally made. He also spoke about plans for the new market house, which will hopefully be ‘Made in Vanuatu’ only.

The presentation provided data showing that construction is driving industry’s contribution to GDP growth highlighting the importance of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) specifically about its contribution to GDP growth and a recent lack of FDI emphasizing that VIPA must attract more FDI.

The NTDC then welcomed the positive efforts of the MTTCNVB through Department of Industry with regards to organizational restructuring and the review of National Industrial Policy of 2011 and formulation of an Industries Development Plan 2017-2021 with the participation of UNIDO. It noted the efforts and partnerships of the VSTAP, VSEG Program and Department of Industry with regards to facilitating development of the handicraft sector in Vanuatu.

The meeting of the NTDC directed the MTTCNVB to complete the review and amendment of the Industrial Development Act No 19 of 2014 for the November session of Parliament. And it approved the proposal for the establishment of industry associations and a public-private partnership governance arrangement for the industries sector in Vanuatu and that this governance arrangement will be incorporated into the amendment of the Industry Development Act No 19 of 2014.

The NTDC approved the development of Value Addition Standards and invited donor partners to provide funding to support all of the efforts above. It encouraged the RBV and MTTCNVB, MALFFB, MOET, to continue to work together to address issues around financial inclusion as per the MOU, and in particular access to credit and directed the Department of Industry to report on the actions taken and progress achieved at the future NTDC meetings.

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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