Trade Minister Matai Seremaiah Calls for Collaborative Efforts to Achieve Vanuatu’s Economic Targets
Vanuatu’s Trade Minister, Matai Seremaiah, has stressed the importance of collaboration across various sectors to achieve the country’s economic goals. Speaking at the 2023 National Trade Development Committee (NTDC) meeting, Minister Seremaiah emphasized the need for a unified effort to achieve sustainable and inclusive trade and investment.
Minister Seremaiah, who holds the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Industry, Commerce, and Ni-Vanuatu Business (MTTCNVB) portfolio, highlighted the importance of increasing exports in areas where Vanuatu has a competitive advantage and reducing the country’s dependence on imported products and services.
During the meeting, the committee discussed the progress of the country’s Trade Policy Framework and the facilitation of current trade agreements. The availability of reliable and cost-effective telecommunication, electricity, and aviation and maritime connectivity were identified as crucial factors for successful trade and investment.
The committee also noted the importance of modern customs, biosecurity, and quality infrastructure systems, as well as improved transportation infrastructure for successful trade.
Minister Seremaiah stressed the need for Vanuatu to develop a conducive economic environment to attract investors, ensuring that trade and investment are sustainable and inclusive. The education system must also be oriented towards the industry to ensure that the private sector’s desired skills are adequately supplied.
The government must support primary sectors and agro-processing to increase the export rate and foster strong ties to the tourism industry.
Minister Seremaiah noted that the establishment of long-term financial success and growth in Vanuatu depends on various policy choices, from infrastructure construction to tax regulations.
Members of the NTDC include Chief Executive Officers, General Managers, Directors, Director Generals (DGs) of the MTTCNVB, Ministry of Finance & Economic Management (MOFEM), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Livestock and Biosecurity, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, Ministry of Education and Training Services, and others.
Representatives of the Development Corps, including the Australian and New Zealand Governments, were also present, along with members of the private sector.
The meeting resulted in several critical issues related to economic recovery being presented, and a number of new recommendations were noted for approval to achieve quick wins for enhancing trade and commerce objectives.
The DG of the MOFEM, August Letlet, presented the immediate need for facilitating major investment projects to grow the government’s financial position by working with other partners in major national projects.
The NTDC meeting preceded the Santo Business Forum, which took place on April 27-28 at the Santo Cruise Wharf Terminal. Members of the private sector and other stakeholders were invited to join and learn about the government’s development progress and raise concerns impacting businesses during recovery.