23 Mar 2016

Vanuatu parliament to pass budget by Friday

11:00 am on 23 March 2016

The Vanuatu government is confident it will pass its budget by this Friday, ahead of a March 31 deadline.

A spokesperson for the prime minister Charlot Salwai said government and opposition MPs have agreed to pass the budget but will continue to debate this week on the allocation of the funds.

The 174.5 million US dollar budget is urgent, and should have been passed last year but the corruption crisis and the subsequent collapse of the government prevented it.

On top of the budget total, there is almost $350 million US dollars to allocate from international aid agencies and donors in response to Cyclone Pam.

The spokesperson says the leader of the opposition, Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau has been arguing that allocations to the health and education ministries are insufficient, but Mr Salwai retorted that the new ministers of those departments simply need to manage them better rather than receive increased funding.

The debate is set to continue until Friday this week.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel