Update on Aid for Trade projects

Participants at the July meeting of the NTDC listen to a presenter giving updates on the aid-for-trade projects at The Melanesian Hotel in Port Vila.

By Jonas Cullwick

The National Trade Development Committee (NTDC) meeting in July heard an update on the Aid-for-Trade (AfT) projects managed and monitored by the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce, and Ni-Vanuatu Business (MTTCNVB)

The report on the update explained the aim of Trade Mainstreaming, which is integrating trade-related considerations into the decision-making of the Government, Private sector and donor partners.

The Trade Mainstreaming Agenda is managed by the Trade Development Division (TDD) under the Office of the Director General of the MTTCNVB (TDD-MTTCNVB) and operates on three levels: at Policy, at Institutional Level and at Development cooperation Level.

The update report on Aid for Trade projects showed that Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Tier 1 funding was spent on Tier 1 activities for 2017, for both regular support and some specific activities including logistical support to trade negotiations and AfT meetings; logistical support for NTDC meetings; leverage funding from other sources; EIF support Staff; logistical support to the TDD Office; assist in the TPF update and; annual project auditing

Trade Policy Framework Update — Funding for the Trade Policy Framework update has been secured, the meeting heard and the contract for the Team Leader is currently with the Central Tenders Board.

“The aim is for the Team Leader to start work at the beginning of September, the meeting was informed. The new timeline aims to have this policy presented to the second meeting of NTDC in 2018.

“EIF Tier 2 -Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project (VTIP), the third tranche payment of USD $800,000 (Vt85.7 million) was approved and released by the EIF Trust Fund Manager (TFM) in mid-June this year.

“And the MTTCNVB has set up the VTIP Emergency Management & Maintenance Committee to deal with the outstanding issues that needs urgent addressing.”

Electronic Single Window Project (ESWP) – the second meeting of the NTDC in 2016 endorsed the proposal for the second phase was submitted to the EDF Executive Secretariat and UNCTAD for review in August by TDD as the National Implementing Unit (NIU) for EIF projects in Vanuatu.

“The funding request of USD 3,000,000 has been reduced to USD 1,800,000. This is because not all of pledges were received from donor countries.”

The Governance for Growth (GfG) Programme — funding assistance in 2017 include; the review and drafting of the National Cooperatives Policy, the review and drafting of the National Industry and Services Policy, the review and drafting of three chapters in the Trade Policy Framework Update.

Potential Projects currently in the pipeline to be funded through the GFG include: Support to the establishment of the Vanuatu Bureau of Standards (VBS) Network System; Support to the VCCI for the Agri-Business training; Branding of Products; Support to the Department of Cooperatives for the Installation of Solar Panels; and Extension of the contract for the Department of Industry Head of Marketing Officer.

Tanna Tourism Recovery Project (TTRP) — A total project budget of Vt22.5 million was achieved, a total of 8 bungalows have been successfully launched and 8 are still pending completion.

“The Tafea Call Centre has been set up and is called the Tafea Information and Travel Centre and a soft launching is expected in August.

“The project is near completion and a phase two has been approved however funds have still yet to be received to roll out activities for phase two of the project.”

Cooperative Recovery Project covers the Designed to provide financial support to reconstruct local cooperatives that were damaged by the Cyclone Pam. “This project is funded by the Governance for Growth (GFG) under the Cyclone Pam Recovery Funding Agreement with a total worth of approximately Vt20 Million.” The funding for the project has been made available and the project is expected to be rolled out by this month August.

The meeting welcomed the progress on Aid-for-Trade projects managed by the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce, and Ni-Vanuatu Business (MTTCNVB).

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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