4 Sep 2006

Vanuatu Lands Minister keen to guarantee freehold title for foreign investor

6:50 pm on 4 September 2006

Vanuatu's Lands Minister says the country needs to provide more guarantees for foreign investors.

Maxime Carlot Korman has defended his decision to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with an American investor over a freehold ownership deal in Santo.

Texas-based Pacific Vanguard Corporation, wants freehold land in Big Bay to establish a Free Trade Zone - something Mr Korman says the customary Nagriamel landowners are also interested in.

However, a local chief, Remi Vatami, has voiced concern over the government signing the MOU without more consultation.

But Mr Korman says that Vanuatu has squandered many opportunities to make money by not previously introducing the freehold title...

"It will set more guarantees for.the investor in a freehold title. Not like we have now. It is very complicated, leasehold title, no guarantee for the investor because land owners put in question in the rural areas several times their title. The best system is the freehold title so when you buy the land it belongs to you for eternity."

Maxime Carlot Korman