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The Department of Customs and Inland Revenue is seeking an extension to the March 31 deadline for payment of road tax for 2017 by all vehicle owners using the public roads of Vanuatu.

The much more stringent roadworthiness inspection by Public Works Department engineers is adding to the need to extend the deadline.

A senior officer of the department has confirmed to the Daily Post that they have requested State Law Office to assist with legal facilitation for the deadline to be extended to the end of June.

He said he believed the extension will be possible because it had been done before after Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated the country in March 2015.

The figure on the total number of registered vehicles in Port Vila and the whole country is yet to be supplied by the department, but the officer said there is a huge number of vehicles that have not yet been inspected by the Public Works Department for roadworthiness.

“PWD say they are checking 40 vehicles a day and with that number there’s no way they can get through all the vehicles before the current deadline unless they work extra hours. Even then it would be difficult,” he added.

“As you know vehicle owners cannot pay the road tax unless their vehicles pass the roadworthiness checks.”

Some believe that even the planned extension of the deadline to June might still not be enough to check all the registered vehicles in the country.

The senior Customs and Inland Revenue Department officer said that PWD normally was due to start vehicle checks in October 2016, but they only started in December and this is resulting in the need for extension of the deadline.

An update on progress from the department is expected early next week.

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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