Vanuatu Business Review » YEAR 2021 IN REVIEW


YEAR 2021 IN REVIEW

As we look ahead to 2022, the Vanuatu Business Review has selected a few stories from our archive to reflect on
the year that has just past. Whilst there have been signs of recovery in some of the sectors in the economy, other
sectors continue to be seriously affected. The main story last year continues to be COVID and its effect on the
economy. Government VAT revenues have continued their decline from previous years reflecting slowing consuming
demand . Whether our long suffering Tourism and Hospitality sector will survive the prolonged border closures are
questions that are being asked. The Vanuatu Government has still not been able to provide a definitive roadmap on
how it plans to re-open borders while OMICRON continues its advance around the world at an unprecedented rate

JANUARY

  • Air Vanuatu has a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and he is Atu Finau. He used to occupy the position of the General Manager Engineering with Air Vanuatu for three years. The 56-year-old Tongan has experience of more than 25 years as a licensed engineer. He has knowledge of all aircrafts in Air Vanuatu’s fleet including the ATR 72-500 and extensive experience in Boeing 737-800 aircraft. CEO Finau replaces Joseph Laloyer.
  • A week into his appointment as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Vanuatu, Atu Finau said formulating a recovery plan was a priority for the airline. The recovery plan was a rescue plan for the airline.
  • A Vt1.3 billion bilateral grant agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation was signed between Prime Minister Bob Loughman and Chinese Ambassador Zhou Haicheng. The grant was to address critical development needs in the rural and remote areas of Vanuatu. The government focus on productive sectors, infrastructure, financial sector and human resources development.

FEBRUARY

  • The government received VT28,170,489 dividend from the Vanuatu Post Ltd (VPL) when VPL held its Annual General Meeting. It has been noted that irregular flights were a challenge on inbound and outbound mail. In 2017, VPL paid VT58,916, 656 to the government.

MARCH

  • A major partnership between Digicel and Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC) has seen Television blong Vanuatu (TBV) channels and radio stations including Radio Vanuatu, Paradise 98FM and Femme Pawa, being incorporated into Digicel PlayGO mobile app.
  • V-LAB’s business incubation coaching program has helped four entrepreneurs with their businesses. The entrepreneurs have experienced some sort of challenges but with the help from V-LAB, were able to tap into new business ideas, to improve their business status.
  • Digicel has upgraded to 4G-plus, boasting to be leading the communication revolution in Vanuatu. The company has even introduced its own apps and usage has grown rapidly. These apps are My Digicel, D Music which has 42 million songs, including local artists and Play Go TV, which has many channels that can be viewed from any part of the country which has coverage.

APRIL

  • Vodafone has successfully launched its new brand positioning, “Together we can” which was inspired by consumer research. This telecommunication company has been providing the 4G+ network coverage. The launching coincided with the 1-year anniversary of Vodafone Vanuatu.
  • Wanfuteng Bank has extended its services as it opened another branch in Santo. The branch intents to improve the Bank’s customer relations and provide another banking option to the Santo Community.

MAY

  • The President of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Antoine Boudier noted two milestones thatoccurred this month; the arrival of OVID-19 vaccines and the announcement of a Stimulus package. The 24, 000 dosesof AstraZeneca vaccines was deemed a major step forward in the endless effort to prevent the deadly sick, while the special government grant was seen to boost many businesses.
  • A Ni-Vanuatu citizen, Ali La’au, believed to be the first Ni- Vanuatu citizen to become Partner in a comparable firm,in this case, with Law Partners. This has seen as another milestone for the firm, as it also celebrated 50 years of itsestablishment in Vanuatu.

JUNE

  • A Bill on a parliamentary amendment passed in Parliament has seen a change of name from the Vanuatu AgricultureDevelopment Bank to Vanuatu Rural Development Bank. Most of the bank’s clients are from the service sector. Thechange also involves the reform to the Bank as part of the wider financial sector reform, which the government iscurrently implementing.
  • The Vanuatu-based company Interchange Limited has a new General Manager and he is Mr. Willie Karie. He has more than 20 years of experience in various sectors, including in public utilities, shipping, management andbusiness. Interchange is embarking on three projects over the coming years to increase technical resilience and expand its internet footprint throughout Vanuatu and neighboring Pacific Island countries.
  • Vanuatu Post Ltd has announced that it will organize, the first ever National e-commerce symposium in July.,COVID-19 has created a new normal, therefore, businesses had to adapt and diversify using internet and encourage, business trade online.
  • The Vanuatu and Utilities Infrastructure Limited has paid its, first concessional fee payment of VT8, 374, 613 million to, the Vanuatu Government. VUI is obliged to pay a 2% from, its Audit annual gross revenue for its year earned.
  • A new company under the name, ‘Bless to be Blessed’ has, attracted hundreds of locals after it issued cash to people, that deposited a certain amount of money, after a period of,21 days. Depositing Vt5,000 would get a return of around,VT38,000 in 21 working days.
  • Bless to Be Blessed came under spotlight after the Vanuatu, Financial Intelligence Unit questioned the company’s, operations. The business was referred to as a ‘Get-rich quick-,scheme and was operating illegally.

JULY

  • Wantok has joined Digicel and Vodafone to become the third telecommunications service provider. The company, entered an agreement with Telecommunications Radio communications, and Broadcasting Regulator, alongside, Digicel and Vodafone. Their target is to provide 80%,coverage to the population of Vanuatu within the next 12,months.
  • Bless to be Blessed, a company that made financial, commitments with its clients, has been given an ultimatum, by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu to refund all the monies, collected from the people within seven days. RBV referred, to the operations of the business as illegal.
  • The Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) has, announced its plans to demolish the former Club Vanuatu, and turn into a Shopping Mall. This is part of VNPF’s effort, in exploring other options reviewing the investment.
  • The government has entered an agreement with Fletcher, Organisation to undertake repair works at the Lenakel, Wharf on Tanna and Litzlitz Wharf on Malekula. The, project costs VT130million. Fletcher Ltd has six months, from when the contract commences to complete the, works.
  • Chicko Farm, one of the largest Poultry businesses in the country is facing financial difficulties in its operations as it is behind by VT14million for its loan repayment with the National Bank of Vanuatu. A 40% tariffs on imported chick, had no impact on this Poultry business, as it had to import the chicken feeds from abroad.

AUGUST



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