30 Oct 2006

Vanuatu landowners more discerning after land summit

4:38 pm on 30 October 2006

The Shefa Provincial Council in Vanuatu says landowners are more discerning about selling their land since the recent National Land Summit.

The Council's Acting Secretary General, Michel Kalworai, made the comment while defending the role of the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority over the sale of most of the customary land on the island of Efate.

The Daily Post newspaper says VIPA has been accused by some local leaders of luring too many foreigners in to buy most of the land at low prices.

But Mr Kalworai says the Council has a close working relationship with VIPA which is chiefly interested in facilitating genuine investment.

However, he says most foreign buyers by-pass the system anyway and talk directly to the custom landowners, who in the past often didn't know the real value of their land

"After the land summit now people understand is that before you talk to a developer, an investor, it's much better that you get a realistic evaluation of your land before you sell your land or go into a joint venture with a developer or investor."