Vanuatu govt releases 100-day list
Political reform is an overriding concern for the new Vanuatu government in a list of policies and activities to be achieved in its first 100 days in office, released this week.
Political reform is a main concern for Vanuatu's new Charlot Salwai-led government in a list of policies and activities to be achieved in its first 100 days in office, released this week.
The Tanna MP, and Parliamentary Secretary to the office of the Prime Minister, Johnny Koanapo, spoke to Johnny Blades about some of the list's priorities.
One of them is to expedite projects in Vanuatu's post-Cyclone Pam recovery programme.
Johnny Koanapo: It's been twelve months now and there has been very slow implementation of the recovery programmes. The projects which should have already been implemented, they're still undergoing the review processes within the government machinery. So what the government wants to do now is to try and expedite the implementation process. It's not a change of direction. It's more (about) reviewing the recovery committee to ensure that implementation is expedited.
Johnny Blades: Political reform, that's on the agenda too?
JK: It's something that is on the medium term priority of the government. But in fact work has already commenced on that. What the current government wants to do is they want to try and ensure that the political and constitutional reform takes prominence in the coming months. I think what has happened now and from when Salwai came in, he's already written to the secretary-general of the Commonwealth, expressing the government's support and the need to immediately start on the political and constitutional reforms (following on from consultations with the Commonwealth and UNDP on this area early in 2015). The 100 days priorities list reflects this quite clearly, stating that there will also be a need for review of government structure. Of course, that is a reform that requires some constitutional amendment, including the amendment of the constitution itself, to allow for the political reform to take effect, and particularly the crossing of floors (by members of parliament) and the frequent motions that we have seen over the past years. I think those are the priority areas high on the government agenda right now.
JB: And also, you're looking at the revenue taskforce?
JK: Yes, the revenue taskforce, that's really an important one. That's something where work needs to start immediately on. A series of governments since 2013 have not really implemented the recommendations that were the product of consultations in 2013. I think over the years governments have concentrated mostly on the numbers and ignored largely development issues, let alone the issue of revenue raising. But now we want to ensure that business as usual must stop. The revenue matrix of 2013 must be immediately implemented. And so we've tried to prioritise the need to activate the revenue taskforce, which means that the prime minister's office should be taking a greater role in the work.
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