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A Collective Effort, Public Update regarding the 11th European Development Fund Vanuatu Value Chain Programme and Other News.

A Collective Effort

Our Pacific Wave Forum held in Auckland, New Zealand, from 6 to 8 August 2018, was a success and it would not have been possible without the Pacific Cooperation Foundation team who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the programme ran seamlessly.

collective-effort

Participants at Pacific Wave Forum 2018

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Public Update regarding the 11th European Development Fund Vanuatu Value Chain Programme

This is to inform you of the two implementing Ministries of the European Development Fund 11’s Vanuatu Value Chain Programme (EDF 11), the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB), and the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business (MTTCNVB), and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), wish to provide an update on EDF 11.   Please click the links below to view and download the followings:- EDF 11 Public Update – Bislama EDF 11 Public Update – English EDF 11 Public Update – French

 

IPDS new charges as of 9 July 2018

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) wish to inform its members on the new charges of Ifira Port Development Services (IPDS).

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Cash Transfer Partnerships Private Sector and Humanitarian Community OXFAM – Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee

The Cash Transfer Workshop organized by Oxfam in Vanuatu, in partnership with the Vanuatu Business Resilience committee (VBRC), is postponed to 29 August 2018 at Ramada Hotel from 8am – 12pm, with lunch provided. Our apologies for this change of date.

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A Regional Forum on Climate and Disaster Risk Finance for Pacific Island Countries in Port Vila from 16-19 October 2018

On October 16-19, 2018 policy-makers and experts from Pacific Islands and around the world will gather in Port Vila, Vanuatu for the Understanding Risk Finance (URf) Pacific forum, bringing together policymakers, financial risk managers, and development partners to strengthen regional collaboration on climate and disaster risk finance. Please click here to view and download Understanding Risk Finance  Pacific Overview and Preliminary Agenda

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AVL Monthly Stakeholder Stats Update

Airports Vanuatu Ltd prepares a monthly update to stakeholders, reporting past statistical performance and future seat capacity forecasts for Bauerfield International Airport (VLI).  The purpose of the update is to enable stakeholders to be informed and have insights into the airport’s operating statistics.

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Cash Transfer Workshop for Businesses Postponed to 29 August 2018, Zero carbon emission can be achieved with solid foundation: FCEF and Other News.

Cash Transfer Workshop for Businesses Postponed to 29 August 2018

The Cash Transfer Workshop organize by Oxfam in Vanuatu, in partnership with the Vanuatu Business Resilience committee (VBRC), is postponed to 29 August 2018 at Ramada Hotel from 8am – 12pm, with lunch provided.

 More information about the Cash Transfer workshop will be provided to businesses in the next few days. 

Your business operates in the following sectors: 

Financial/Cash Delivery whom will be

the Banking Institutions, Money transfer Operators and Mobile services Providers and

Supply-side Goods and Services whom will be the Transport and Logistics Providers, Hardware and Agriculture Suppliers and Wholesale and Retail Suppliers for Food/Grocery. 

You are invited to confirm your attendance.

Business will be consulted on topics such as financial delivery channels, market presence and availability of supply-side services critical for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the form of cash or vouchers. 

For businesses who wish to attend the Cash Transfer workshop, you can confirm your attendance by Tuesday 28 August 2018 by email to [email protected] or contact VCCI office on 27543 / 7123967.

For more information on the Cash Transfer workshop, you can contact Mrs Sandra Hart, Pacific Cash & Livelihoods Advisor, Oxfam, Vanuatu, by email [email protected] or phone 534 7911.

 

Zero carbon emission can be achieved with solid foundation: FCEF

Vilimaina Naqelevuki, Fiji Times, 26 July 2018

As Pacific men and women, we know what we’re up against, we’ve all endured the devastating impacts of cyclones, rising seas and other climate impacts.

This was stressed by the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the Global Employers Climate Action Forum organised by the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation on 25 July 2018 at the Holiday Inn, Suva.

He said the eyes of the world were on the Pacific as the Global Employers Climate Action Forum began; and that “government, businesses and citizens are looking to us because we our people and our economies are on the front lines of climate change”.

FCEF chief executive Nesbitt Hazelman said the forum focused “on how we can achieve net zero carbon emissions and build resilience”.

“As we mentioned from the start, we can only achieve this if there is a solid foundation and partnership between the Government, us the private sector, the development partners, civil society organisation and the communities,” Mr Hazelman said.

He said the outcomes of the forum laid the pathway for the private sector to accelerate climate action and also to achieve the targets set for the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry was represented at the Global Employers Climate Action Forum in Suva, Fiji, by Mr Shaun Gilchrist, CEO of Azure Pure Water, who is the Manufacturing Councillor of VCCI.

 

Succeeding in tourism

A series of practical articles by Chris Elphick, Breadfruit Consulting, aimed at tourism SMEs.

Article one – an introduction

Over the next few weeks I will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses working in the tourism industry.

Across the Pacific tourism has been identified as a major industry for economic development and resources are provided by a wide range of organisations. This focus on tourism obviously provides enormous opportunities to rural and urban communities alike but will it be possible for everyone to access those opportunities?  Will there be an equal playing field? Will tourism reap the rewards for small rural businesses in remote parts of the Pacific? How will small tourism businesses be able to compete with their larger and probably better resourced neighbours? How will locally run tourism businesses be able to compete with expat run and resourced operations?

During this series I will be exploring what tourists want and how this matches up to what we provide; how we meet and exceed expectations and send tourists home determined to come back bringing all their friends; how the Pacific can create a  reputation for exceptional and consistently high service; how we can develop a vibrant tourism industry without damaging our local cultures; how tourism can economically benefit rural areas; how tourism can provide jobs and careers for our young people; what needs to happen to support a sustainable local tourism industry; what are we really selling to visitors and how we make sure they take home unforgettable memories.

We are lucky in the Pacific to live in some of the most beautiful countries in the world – countries that people do want to visit and experience.  Many visitors want to understand our culture, meet local people, get a taste of Pacific life.  They want to experience the things that the Pacific offers that are not available elsewhere

Tourism is certainly an industry full of opportunities.  This short series of articles looks at how small tourism businesses can make the most of these opportunities and turn them to their advantage.  Tourists will not just turn up!  And they certainly will not return if they do not have the experience of a lifetime!

A few months go I ran a workshop for local tourism providers – of the 40 people present only two had ever been tourists and travelled outside their country. 38 people were trying to deliver products and services to people they knew nothing about – they had been encouraged by a range of organisations to develop small scale accommodation or tours but had received little or no realistic help or guidance on how best to do this.

I hope this series will help small scale tourism operators to become more effective and profitable and therefore develop a sustainable industry offering jobs and careers to local people while providing stunning experiences to visitors from all over the world.  Tourism has the potential to transform the economy of Pacific countries, but it also has the potential to deepen the divide between the haves and the have nots.  No Pacific country can afford for this to happen.

Tourism is not an easy industry to succeed in. Products and services have to live up to expectations; visitors have to come; visitors have to be looked after; problems have to be solved before they get out of hand.  It is essentially a people industry where people from different cultures come into close contact with each other for short periods of time.  Social media means that people can broadcast their experiences to the world almost immediately after they have had them – good and bad!

If you have any tourism issues you would like me to cover during this series, please contact me.

Coming next, what do tourists want and how do we make sure they get what they want? 

Chris Elphick is Partner in Breadfruit Consulting, supporting the development of a range of businesses and organisations in Melanesia and other parts of the Pacific.  He is an experienced trainer, coach and business mentor and has years of experience of working with Small & Medium Enterprises.  He and his partner Hazel Kirkham live in Vanuatu and are involved with tourism operators snd their businesses in several Pacific countries.

Breadfruit Consulting have partnered with Fiji Entrepreneur to develop mentoring services for new and young entrepreneurs.

If you have an issue or query related to this article, please contact Chris at [email protected] or text to +6785500556.

 

Succeeding in tourism

A series of practical articles by Chris Elphick, Breadfruit Consulting, aimed at tourism SMEs.

Article twounderstanding our visitors

Over the next few weeks I will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses working in the tourism industry.

Across the Pacific tourism has been identified as a major industry for economic development and resources are provided by a wide range of organisations. This focus on tourism obviously provides enormous opportunities to rural and urban communities alike but will it be possible for everyone to access those opportunities?  Will there be an equal playing field? Will tourism reap the rewards for small rural businesses in remote parts of the Pacific? How will small tourism businesses be able to compete with their larger and probably better resourced neighbours? How will locally run tourism businesses be able to compete with expat run and resourced operations?

Understanding who tourists are, what they want from us and making sure they get what they want, and more, is vital to any successful tourism business.  The challenge for many small operators in the Pacific is the lack of tourism experience where we may not have travelled outside of our own area let alone our own country.

If possible going on a short break to another country to experience being a tourist for a few days is ideal.  This way you will get to experience first-hand what some of the tourists who visit you do.

First time visitors to the Pacific who have only information from friends or the web to go on may well have unrealistic expectations.  They may try to do too much in too short a time and get disappointed; they may not think that it rains here; they may not be used to power going off at night or water shortages.  When people get disappointed they get upset and often angry and lose any sense of proportion.

Number one essential is to make sure that when you meet your visitors for the first time blow them away with your interest in them. Ask them questions; give them a fresh coconut and some nice fresh local fruit; if they are hungry feed them even if the kitchen is closed! If you know what nationality they are try and learn a couple of simple greetings in their language; manage peoples’ expectations from the beginning by giving them good information; think ahead and anticipate anything that could go wrong and, above all, focus on the friendliness and beauty of the Pacific.

We must train our staff to be problem solvers, not problem avoiders!  No-one wants to hear ‘The boss is not here today’! if someone has a problem, no matter how small, then it has to be solved to the benefit of the visitor immediately.  It doesn’t matter if it is not a problem for the business or individual member of staff.

Anyone in the tourism business takes on a duty of care for visitors – look after them; treat them as special guests; think ahead and anticipate any concerns they might have; thank them for coming and for spending their money with you.  Try and put yourself in their shoes – imagine you are visiting a city in India for the first time. How might you feel? You are likely to be nervous, apprehensive, maybe a little frightened, curious – you will need a friend.

If you are running a small tourism business, or even a larger one, go out of your way to make friends with the visitors – stop what you are doing and focus on them – after all they pay your bills!

Finally, it is likely that most people who have travelled all the way to the Pacific to stay on a secluded island in a small resort are looking for an experience of a lifetime – make sure you give it to them!!  Your accommodation may not be as comfortable or as large as some in other parts of the world – but make it authentic and genuine.  Serve local food with pride.  Meet needs of visitors before they become a problem.  Fill their days with surprises.

If you have any tourism issues you would like me to cover during this series, please contact me.

Coming next, creating a reputation in the Pacific for exceptional and consistently high service. 

Chris Elphick is Partner in Breadfruit Consulting, supporting the development of a range of businesses and organisations in Melanesia and other parts of the Pacific.  He is an experienced trainer, coach and business mentor and has years of experience of working with Small & Medium Enterprises.  He and his partner Hazel Kirkham live in Vanuatu and are involved with tourism operators and their businesses in several Pacific countries.

Breadfruit Consulting have partnered with Fiji Entrepreneur to develop mentoring services for new and young entrepreneurs.

If you have an issue or query related to this article, please contact Chris at [email protected] or text to +6785500556.

Counting your chickens – XERO makes it easy, Invitation call on Private Sector Services Provider Capacity Assessment workshop – 9th August 2018 at Ramada Hotel and other News.

 

Counting your chickens – XERO makes it easy

 

Mathieu Laurent is an impressive, energetic young entrepreneur who is achieving big things in Vanuatu’s burgeoning poultry industry. In the space of three years, since he bought Vanuatu Poultry, the 24 year old has expanded the business ten-fold and has become Vanuatu’s largest eggs and chicken meat producer, employing over 50 people. Today Vanuatu Poultry is producing 11,000 eggs daily to Vanuatu’s major supermarkets, and delivering 2,500 fresh chickens three times a week to local butcheries, restaurants and resorts.

Naturally, that’s a lot of eggs and chickens to account for. To modernize this growing business, Mathieu required help to track his businesses growth and manage the day to day challenges. AJC, one of Vanuatu’s leading finance and accounting companies, and Xero, the world’s best accounting software, partnered with Business Link Pacific to boost Vanuatu Poultry’s accounting systems.

“I learnt everything on the go and I had no idea about accounting. I inherited another accounting package and was using it for eight months but it became a big mess. I knew I needed help because we were making more and more sales and I had no clue which customers were paying. I was producing stuff but money was not coming in. So I was like “I need some help!” and I started working with AJC”, explains Mathieu.

 

Within four months of working with AJC, Vanuatu Poultry was able to clear a massive amount of outstanding debts and reconcile their books for the first time. Their bank was especially impressed with their quick transformation. For Mathieu, Xero’s initial positive impact was empowering.

“Now, I know exactly how much money is in the bank, who needs to be paid, who needs to pay us and all in real time. This is an incredible difference. Before we would get caught out with cash flows and cheque payments. Now, I can strategically plan my budgets, cash flow and expenditure.”

Forensic accounting

Xero is renowned for practical troubleshooting. In Vanuatu Poultry’s case it has helped solve a few accounting mysteries/problems by providing the necessary evidence to improve productivity.

“AJC set up a Xero dashboard, so now I can easily monitor expenditure. For exam  ple I could see my electricity costs were increasing. At first I was thinking it was faulty lights but then I realized the workers were working too slow, so we were able to fix this. It’s also made a big difference to tracking and managing fuel costs.”

“My customised Xero dashboard gives me a snapshot of everything. I like to track my major customers and use them as a benchmark to compare profit and loss.”

“I am now thinking of using Vend, a cloud-based point of sale software to manage stock feed because it’s quite complicated to do manually – we ended up having to do monthly stock takes. Then it will only take a few clicks to figure out what to order.”

Simple, Xero features can make a big difference to a business’s efficiency. The instant email invoicing feature has markedly improved the Vanuatu Poultry’s cash flow. Previously, the company’s invoices were getting lost with deliveries and payments delayed. Using Xero, invoices are emailed as a “link”, so now it’s obvious when they are received and “opened” by the customer.

Their next step is to systematically enter all company assets into Xero with AJC’s assistance so they have an accurate profit and loss data. The company’s payroll will also be linked through internet banking.

For Mathieu working with AJC and using Xero has meant less time in the office “on the books,” and more time on the factory’s floor supervising his team and planning the next move in building his fast growing chicken empire.

“If you want your business to grow you need to work with professional people. Working with them you win time. Instead of you making the mistake and learning from your mistake, they prevent you making it in the first place.”

“AJC’s professional advice has meant I can have confidence in the future. Together we are monitoring our progress, doing business forecasting and managing VAT compliance.”

“When I took on this business, it was little bit hard because I was alone and didn’t know how to manage this alone. Lots can go wrong with growing chickens. It’s quite scientific. I worked it out and one year later I increased the company by five times. By 2020 the meat chickens will double. So, if you believe in yourself and then you work hard, it’s not impossible.”

 

Business Link Pacific with the Vanuatu accounting firms AJC, Barrett and Partners and vSolutions is offering eligible small and medium sized businesses a free 12-month subscription to Xero accounting software, a cloud-based accounting system that is changing the way small businesses’ approach their accounting.

 

Vanuatu small and medium sized businesses interested in accessing the Xero 12 months subscription promotion can contact Kesha Licht at VCCI at [email protected] or phone 27543 Ext 19 or mobile 555 5347 or contact direct AJC or Barrett and Partners or vSolutions.

 

-ENDS 837 words-

 

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                           Mathieu Laurent – Vanuatu Poultry

Invitation call on Private Sector Services Provider Capacity Assessment workshop – 9th August 2018 at Ramada Hotel

 

Oxfam, in partnership with the Vanuatu Business Resilience committee, is pleased to invite interested businesses and entities in the private sector to a workshop introducing the Private Sector Service Provider Capacity Assessment, a component of Oxfam’s Vanuatu Cash Transfer Feasibility Study, which has been ongoing nation-wide since March, and is scheduled for completion in September 2018.

An intro/kick-off workshop will be held on August 9th, 2018 at Ramada Hotel from 8am – 12pm, with lunch provided.  Please confirm your attendance before 7th August by return email at [email protected] or contact VCCI office on 27543.

Please click here to view and download Invite Oxfam Private Sector Assessment Information Note.

FCEF Hosts Global Employers Forum on Climate Action

FCEF News 23 Jul 2018

 

Fiji’s national private sector and employers’ organisation, the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) officially announced its hosting of the Global Employers Climate Action Forum. The announcement was made by FCEF President, Mr Sandeep Chauhan and also present was the COP23 staff and other senior executives from the private sector.

In his announcement, Mr Chauhan said, “FCEF is hosting a one day Global Employers Climate Action Forum on 25 July 2018 at the Holiday Inn, Suva, Fiji. Participants from international, regional organisations and the Private Sector have been invited to attend and share lessons learned and experiences on their active commitment in accelerating climate action to support the Paris Agreement and the operation of the “Fiji Declaration on Resilient Businesses and Communities” which was endorsed at Bon, Germany.”

The announcement was made at the My Suva Park as senior executives and partners from various bodies and government ministries supporting the forum, planted trees in a bid to help offset the carbon footprint of those travelling in from the outside Fiji to attend the Global Employers Climate Action Forum.

The Executive Director for COP23, Mr John Connor was also the Launch and tree planting exercise, in his remarks Mr Connor mentioned that the tree planting initiative was well thought and planned considering the intent of the work towards climate action. He also congratulated the work of the FCEF and the private sector for the positive partnerships that have been fostered with government in supporting the objectives of COP23.

The Global Employers Climate Action Forum (GECAF) will also provide a platform for representatives from the private sector in Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tuvalu to highlight areas of concern and as mentioned by the FCEF President Sandeep Chauhan, “The outcomes of the forum will be presented at the Climate Action Pacific Partnerships (CAPP) Meeting on Thursday 26 July. Moreover, these outcomes will be presented at any Global Meeting and the UN Negotiations Conference as our input and the voice of the Private Sector will be heard so that the challenges we are facing are heard and considered.”

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation is hosting this event in collaboration with ANZ,  Vodafone, Global Green Growth Institute, Pacific Islands Development Forum, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, COP23 Secretariat, Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, International Labour Organisation, Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism, Holiday Inn, US AID, Pacific Climate Ready, Pacific Cooperation Foundation, Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Management and Fiji Times.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry was represented at the Global Employers Climate Action Forum in Suva, Fiji, by Mr Shaun Gilchrist, CEO of Azure Pure Water, who is the Manufacturing Councillor of VCCI.

Vanuatu National Provident Fund Report Writing Training

 

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce (VCCI) through its Business Development Services Unit have recently spent a six (6) days delivering report writing training to the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) staffs.

According to VNPF 2018 – 2022 Strategic Framework, there has been a very strong emphasis on the Organization’s annual performance to be reported.  The VNPF Act has mandated the Board to submit through the Minister responsible for Finance an Annual Report within four (4) months at the end of every financial year to the Government of Vanuatu. Therefore, effective reporting is essential.

VNPF has undertaken a detailed training needs assessment and realized that its employee’s key organizational training need is report writing.

The training was very interactive and many topics were discussed. Key topics discussed were in reference to VNPF’s current reporting requirements with strong emphasis on the importance and benefits of reporting.

There were a total of 27 participants for this training. The training was dispersed into two groups, the first group commenced on the 3rd and ended on the 5th of July 2018 and the second group started on the 9th and ended on the 11th of July 2018. All participants have received their statement of completion right after they have completed their training.

Positive feedbacks were provided by the participants at the end of the training. All participants left the training satisfied with their statement of completion award and high mentality to enforce improvement in their report writing skills within different work division in VNPF.

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce has a very proactive Business Development Services Unit that is always available to help business houses in terms of trainings in all areas. Please feel free to contact the office on +678 27543/ 7123967 or Email: [email protected]

You can also access information on Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) website at www.vcci.com

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VNPF Reporting Writing training 1

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VNPF Reporting Writing training 2

VCCI carries the concern of business over unequal tax exemptions, Solomon Islands Government & Business 40 Years on and Other News

 

 

VCCI carries the concern of business over unequal tax exemptions

 

There is growing concern in the country that tax exemptions being granted to large construction companies and not to local entities is creating an unfair tendering process for local builders and the infrastructure sector.

It has been noted that many of these infrastructure and building works are being funded by loans to the country and are not aid or grant funded yet the implementing company is being awarded almost all the major construction projects in Vanuatu tax free.

Local builders under the Vanuatu Builders and Allied Industries Association (VANBAIA) have asked the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) and Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) the following questions

1: Who approved CCECC for VIPA and Business Licence for Construction?

2: Construction is a Reserved Occupation, so why was this approved, and who in Government approved it?

3: CCECC have VAT exemptions with many stores and suppliers around town, so how does this create a level playing field for local builders, who have no such exemptions?

4: Local builders cannot go and buy their tools and building materials etc., VAT free, for construction projects, so why does CCECC get an exemption when doing private projects?

This issue was raised on Social Media more than a week ago and many people agreed with/and support the local builders. The members of the Vanuatu Building and Allied Industries Association (VANBAIA), local builders, and companies bidding for infrastructure work have now asked the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) for assistance in getting answers to the questions above.

Accordingly, VCCI is asking VIPA, Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC), Customs Department, Central Tender Board (CTB), Vanuatu Project Management Unit (VPMU), the Ministry of Tourism Trade Industry and Ni Vanuatu Business, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Education, to provide some answers to the questions above. The answers need to include a way forward, with Government policy addressing the development and growth of Vanuatu with the engagement of local builders in the construction and infrastructure industry to take effect now.

 

Solomon Islands Government & Business 40 Years on

 

By Jay Bartlett, Chairman Solomon Islands CCI, Address Delivered at PM’s Breakfast on 27 June 2018. Solomon Star.

It’s a great pleasure to welcome you all to our first ever Prime Minister’s Breakfast and to say a few brief remarks.

I’d like to firstly welcome our Prime Minister Rick Hou – thank you for availing some time from your busy schedule to be with us here today.

I believe this is your first official engagement with SICCI since meeting with our CEO in December last year and we are indeed very grateful to be hosting you here this morning.

Welcome to members of our Diplomatic core –regional Heads of Missions from Australia, New Zealand & the United Kingdom.

And ours SIG Government Officials – we had a great engagement with a good number of our PS’s last week at our LDC Graduation breakfast and I’d like  to welcome you back here today especially the members of the Advisory Committee which is Chaired by the PS of Commerce – Riley Misipitu.

To members of the Chamber, Media and my fellow Solomon Islanders a very warm welcome to you all this morning.

MoU in Action

On the eve of our 40th Independence I think it’s a healthy sign of our nation and economy’s maturity that we as Government and Business are able to debate and better appreciate the challenges and opportunities we face as a nation.

The backdrop of our independence celebrations is redirecting at 40 and the theme for today’s breakfast is government & business 40 years on.

We are all too familiar with the challenges faced on a country that is geographically dispersed, socially diverse, economically vulnerable with a very young democracy.

Despite this we enjoy a growing economy and debt levels are low by international standards and we also enjoy a stable security environment.

Almost a year ago on the 6th on July the Solomon Islands Government signed a MoU with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce- to create an engagement platform.

Today’s event is an initiative of the Advisory Committee to cultivate productive relationships with key decision makers as our relationship institutionally does remain underdeveloped.

This is the MoU in action ladies & Gentlemen.

It would be great if events such as this can be hosted annually along with other business excellence Awards.

It is advantageous to both Government & Business that we must continue to have robust discussions on our nation’s state of affairs 40 years on.

Successive Solomon Islands governments have recognized the important role the private sector has in supporting economic growth.

The Solomon Islands National Development Strategy 2016-2035 acknowledges that ‘private sector-led economic growth needs to be encouraged and facilitated.’

However, government policies are not always consistent with stated government objectives. For example, actual infrastructure spending is not always directed to projects of maximum benefit to the private sector. The mismatch remains a critical challenge requiring a fundamental shift in how government and the private sector relate and must be a key focus of ingoing Conversations at policy and operational levels.

This MoU implemented well, is a good example of robust discussions graduating from rhetoric to a structured process of dialogue the maybe used as reference for key business & policy strategic imperatives in the important discussions of redirection.

The MoU framework will also allow us to be better joined up with broader government processes- Including the budget process.

I’d hope to see an establishment of an annual business – government budget meeting where business could present government with our priorities early in the budget cycle.

Outside of our MoU there are few institutional mechanisms that link the private sector and Government.

Traditionally our engagement has been sporadic and this formalized arrangement is vital a partnership that both sides must continue to capitalize on.

Success of such a mechanism requires proactive participation and action from both government and the private sector in leading, driving and owning the process to achieve better outcomes.

A recently signed partnership agreement between SICCI and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force will further improve mutual understanding and identify opportunities for collaboration.

A stable, secure prosperous Solomon Islands is in all our interests.

Development Progress

Our Businesses still face a broad number of institutional constraints; poor infrastructure, expensive utilities, cumbersome tax rates, the high cost of finance and unskilled labour force are commonly identified challenges which make it difficult for business to grow.

Issues such as corruption or land reform are so important to the business community that, while beyond the capacity of SICCI alone to secure a reform. We are keen to progress discussions.

Addressing land issues needs to be maintained as policy focus.

Investments in our productive Capacity-Schools, hospitals, airports and ports and prioritizing the allocation of resources continues to be a significant challenge.

Ensuring that our investments are focused on capital infrastructure on not on focused consumption.

Current developments of the submarine cable are welcomed developments and we must applaud the Australian Government for taking a lead on this.

We are transitioning from tribalism & provincialism to information & digital age of selfies, Instagram faster than we can imagine.

We must redirect our efforts into transforming into a modern economy that can harness the benefits of technology.

The current Kukum Highway upgrade project and the recent commitments from JICA to upgrade our international airport will improve efficiency in mobility and drastically give a much needed facelift to our capital city.

The first impression of travellers to Solomon Islands is Honiara and we must continue to invest and reinvest to modernize our capital to increase our appeal as a tourist destination.

While our energy costs remain some of the highest in the region progress in reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and energy costs in the development of the Tina Hydro dam & renewable like solar farms & hybrid stations outside of Honiara & the provinces is welcomed by private sector.

Like Solomon Island power, SICCI is also very supportive of this national project, especially if it also translates to a significant reduction in the tariff, apart from the positive environmental considerations.

Solomon power and other stake-holders are undergoing commercial discussions & proper due diligence is undertaken to ensure that the governance process & arrangements are in the best interest of us as consumers over the life of this particular project.

The Hosting of the 2023 Pacific Games is one of those rare opportunities where the eyes on the Pacific will be focused on our country.

Business Participation pre & pro games has many opportunities for the benefit of our local economy.

As mentioned energy, Communication, Transportation are key fundamentals to redirect our economy to improve the investment climate so business can grow to benefit the community.

Beyond the MoU and Investments in infrastructure the fastest way to progress a nation is to enable its people. To advance our education system investments in institutions like our national university will ensure the sizable funds spent on scholarships remain in our economy not transferred to some of our regional economies in the Pacific & Asia.

We must also redirect our attitude and thinking.

Risk

While there is an inherent need to improve our physical infrastructure we also need to continue to focus on institutional governance that can enhance our integrity & accounting – ability.

The much anticipated Anti-Corruption Bill will establish public goodwill & reap economic benefits.

Governance not only exists in the political sphere but I all levels in society-State Owned Enterprises, Financial Institutions, Private Enterprise, Churches, Schools, Sports club and so forth.

As a Chamber we also aspire to promote excellence in corporate governance in the Private Sector and will be hosting an Essentials of Directorship Program to be delivered by Institute of Director New Zealand.

It is aimed at executive & non-executive directors with introduction to international best practice, corporate governance, strategy, finance, risk, corporate law and legislation.

This training is a test case for private sector appeal as it is our ambition to facilitate the establishment of a Solomon Islands institute of Company Directors or SIICD.

This institute can also deliver courses designed for the public sector and so far response has been very encouraging.

Call for action

Our demographics continue to demand that we must identify and accelerate new sources of growth and bring down unemployment.

A recent report by the Ministry of Education highlighted that an alarming high number of school leavers every year is a cause for concern and at the 2017 Annual Report launch the Governor of the central bank stated that”

In order for the country to develop and progress, build buffers and resilience for disasters, the economy needs to grow, on average between 5-7% year on year. The recent Mobilization of the YEC program aimed to support and advocate young entrepreneurs in a small step in addressing a broader national issue and it is only through a partnership with a number of key Ministries that we are able to do so.

Closing

In closing ladies and Gentlemen 40 years of independence is a significant milestone in our democracy that we will be celebrating but, we must also look at our development trajectory at this critical juncture.

Our actions now as the Government, Private Sector, and development people must support inclusive forms of growth.

I stand before you today as the chairman of SICCI AND also as a member of the largest and youngest population in our history.

40 years on – we need to move past rhetoric.

40 years on – we need to turn our potential into realization.

40 years on- we need concrete actions to support the business community

40 years on my generation and the future generations need redirection not just as a theme for our independence anniversary but because our future depends on it.

I look forward the next 40 years of redirection so that these conversations and these constant are retired to the archives of history

Thank you very much and happy independence Solomon Islands.

 

Public and private sector join to get Vanuatu off grey list

 

Vanuatu has been removed from the Non Cooperative and High Risk Jurisdiction List, referred to the grey or black list by international media.

The removal of Vanuatu from the grey list is a story of hard work, cooperation and collaboration between public and private sector institutions, says the Chairman of the Board of the Vanuatu Finance Centre Association.

Martin St-Hilaire said it is a story in which Vanuatu’s effort has resulted in the achievement of the highest level of compliance.

“Hopefully this will serve as an example of what can be achieved when political will (from all MPs, led by the Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and the Finance Minister Gaetan Pikioune) working hand in hand with capable and intelligent public sector officials toward a common goal that is for the greater good of the country,” he said.

He said the Mutual Valuation report that listed Vanuatu as Non-Cooperative and High Risk was issued in September 2015, following an on-site visit in January 2015.

“However, before that official visit, the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering had already issued a public statement about Vanuatu’s non-compliance with International standards in November 2014,” he said.

“It took Vanuatu three-and-a-half years of hard work to lift its game and to meet the international standards and requirements that are in force today.

“First, as Chairman of the Vanuatu Finance Centre Association, I must congratulate the National AML&CTF Coordinating Committee (‘NCC’) for their work and the success achieved.

“We should highlight the significant contribution of Floyd Mera (Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit) and Johnson Naviti (Prime Minister’s Office), to the committee and the committee’s success.

“If Vanuatu authorities were to blame for the poor situation in 2015, they are to be congratulated for working hard to rectify the situation that has resulted in Vanuatu returning to the white list.”

Mr St-Hilaire said Vanuatu’s legislation on these subjects had been outdated.

“Vanuatu MPs and public servants have worked together to strengthen the legislation so as to meet international compliance and best practice,” he said.

He said that implementation and execution have been efficiently managed by the relevant Vanuatu institutions – the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission, the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Police Force.

But he sounded a warning about the future.

This does not mean Vanuatu will not be under intense scrutiny moving forward; the worldwide trend is transparency, openness, and regular compliance checks,” he said.

“That trend will continue, and dealings with banks and international transactions will not become ‘easier’ from a compliance perspective, ever.

“It may however mean that compliance checks and cross-border transfers will not get significantly more difficult as time goes by.

“The current requirements will stay in force and not become more and more onerous, meaning no more cost increases when it comes to compliance.”

Mr St-Hilaire said it could mean that Vanuatu will attract new foreign direct investment from individuals and corporations that previously viewed Vanuatu as a risky investment environment due to its presence on the grey list.

“This reduced perception of risk could ultimately lead to a reduction in risk premiums, and lower interest rates and transaction fees,” he said.

“Vanuatu must continue to maintain its progress in order to successfully pass the next Mutual Valuation in 2020.”

He said at each valuation, the Financial Action Task Force/African Partnership Forum is setting the bar higher as the world evolves and compliance and regulations are constantly changing.

“I personally hope that the NCC and the institutions involved will keep the momentum going with the support of all MPs, and push our current financial systems further,” he said.

“We should aim for the automation and modernisation of the current data collection systems and associated data analysis.

“Modern technologies and artificial intelligence should be embraced to ensure Vanuatu stays ahead of the compliance requirements and trends in the years to come.

“Funding for this should be provided by OECD countries to help Vanuatu implement this important IT infrastructure, as it is the OECD countries who are the main drivers behind increased compliance and transparency.”

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia’s E-Commerce Accelerator Program-applications now open, Solomon Islands Chamber launches new initiative and Other News.

 

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia’s E-Commerce Accelerator Program – Applications now Open

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Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia’s e-Commerce is constantly looking at how to improve export opportunities for businesses in the Pacific Islands.

They are excited to share with us the launch of Pacific Trade Invest (PTI), Australia’s Digital Trade and e-Commerce Accelerator programs, which will provide practical skills in e-Commerce to businesses in the Pacific Islands.

E-Commerce is rapidly changing the landscape for exporters.  It’s becoming an increasingly important way for businesses in to trade with the rest of the world and opens exciting opportunities for businesses in the Pacific Islands to connect with international markets.

Applications are now open for export ready Pacific Island businesses to apply for one of 15 places on PTI Australia’s e-Commerce Accelerator program. Each place is valued at over A$6,000.

PTI Australia’s e-Commerce Accelerator is a tailored program providing export ready businesses with one-on-one training from Coach AMZ, participants will learn about selling strategies, warehousing, supply chain and payment logistics and will be provided with support to launch their products onto Amazon Australia.

To apply simply download the application form and submit. Applications close on Friday 31st August 2018.

If you know of any export-ready businesses who are ready to take the next step into e-Commerce please share this opportunity with them.

You can also contact Jeremy Grennell, General Manager – Export PTI Australia, email [email protected] tel (612) 9290 2133 website pacifictradeinvest.com

 

Solomon Islands Chamber launches new initiative

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Prime Minister Honourable Rick Hou delivering the keynote address at the PM’s Breakfast event hosted by SICCI

By Andrew Fanasia, Solomon Star

THE Government and the private sector need to foster their relationship and explore opportunities to enhance cooperation with each other.

Prime Minister Rich Hou stated this when addressing the inaugural “Prime Minister’s Breakfast” event on Wednesday (27 June 2018).

Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), which represents the private sector, organised the event.

“This forum provides an important opportunity for the Government to share with the private sector its plans for development of our country,” Mr Hou said.

“As well it provides an excellent platform through which we can further cement our relationship,” he added.

Mr Houstated that the Government appreciates the important role private sector plays as the main driver for sustainable economic growth in the country.

“I have to say that we have work to do to improve Solomon Islands competitive advantage.

“As the nation prepares to celebrate its 40th Independence Anniversary, it is prudent that we as a nation pause to think strategically to set our road map for the next 40 years.

“It is critical now to be setting priorities for investment, business and economic development.”

The Prime Minister’s Breakfast Address comes at the back of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) SICCI and the Government signed on 6 July last year.

Mr Hou said the MOU is one of the strategies aimed at addressing the shortcomings of the current Trade Policy Framework in Solomon Islands.

“The MOU will pave the way for more meaningful collaboration between the Private Sector and the Government.

“It will further strengthen the Government’s policy on private sector participation and engagement in the economic development of Solomon Islands.”

Prime Minister Hou said that he was pleased to note that following the signing of that MOU a designated Advisory Group has been very active.

He said he looks forward to seeing the outcomes of the Group’s work.

 

Solomon Islands Government together with the private sector and other development stakeholders must work in partnership

jay-bartlett-sicci-chair

SICCI Chair, Jay Bartlett delivering his address on behalf of SICCI and its members and the business community at the PM’s Breakfast event.

By Andrew Fanasia, Solomon Star

Speaking during the Prime Minister’s Breakfast held at the Heritage Park Hotel yesterday morning (Wednesday 27 June 2018), Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) chair Jay Bartlett’s said the country’s demographics continue to demand that government and the private sector must identify and accelerate new sources of growth and bring down unemployment.

Government together with the private sector and other development stakeholders must work in partnership to support inclusive forms of growth in this country.

He said that in order for the country to develop and progress, build buffers and resilience for disasters, the economy needs to grow, on average between 5-7% year on year.

“The recent mobilization of the youth empowerment program aimed to support and advocate young entrepreneurs in a small step in addressing a broader national issue and it is only though a partnership with a number of key ministries that we are able to do so,” Mr Bartlett’s said.

He added that 40 years of independence is a significant milestone in the country’s democracy that the nation will be celebrating but the nation must also look at development trajectory at this critical point in time.

He further said that that it is advantageous to both Government & Business that all must continue to have robust discussions on the nation’s state of affairs 40 years on.

“Successive Solomon Islands governments have recognised the important role the private sector has in supporting economic growth.”

However, government policies are not always consistent with stated government objectives, he added.

“Our actions now as the Government, private sector, and development people must support inclusive forms of growth.

“40 years on – we need to move past rhetoric, we need to turn our potential into realization.

“We need concrete actions to support the business community 40 years on my generation and the future generations need redirection not just as a theme for our Independence anniversary but because our future depends on it,” Bartlett’s said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rick Hou applauded SICCI for taking this initiative – launching this inaugural “Prime Minister’s Breakfast Address”.

 

Small Business Modelling (Business Planning) Program coming up in August 2018

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Loic Taga, a successful 2017 training participant and his Client Stan Antas in his new studio.

The Small Business Modelling program jointly coordinated by Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Cann Business Enterprises of Australia will commence on Monday 6 August 2018 for its 2018 group of recipients.

The program provides training, advice and mentoring on business planning, basic bookkeeping and simple marketing subjects making them simple for the grassroots business starters. It also focuses on what to do to start a business and how to sustain simple management of a newly established small business.

The program would be facilitated by Allan and Shirley Cann who are directors of Cann Business Enterprises of Woodend, Victoria, Australia. Allan Cann has more than 25 years of experience in business at senior management level and Shirley Cann has over 30 years’ experience in office administration and business management. They have been working together with the VCCI for the last five years.

If you are a business starter interested in participating in this program, please come to register your name at VCCI Reception office, or call on 27543 or email [email protected]

Follow up on Waste Management grace period to end in June 2019 and Azure Pure Water benefitting from Xero’s efficient and real-time accounting software

Follow up on Waste Management grace period to end in June 2019

 

As per the Ministry of Tourism Trade Industry and Ni Vanuatu Business request, VCCI has submitted a list of local businesses with their current stock of unused plastic bags, polystyrene take away boxes and plastic straws in the country. Under the Waste Management Act and Regulations, the total amount of unused plastic in local businesses stocks is more than 4 million pieces of unused plastic bags, polystyrene take away boxes and plastic straws.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry asks that the Government authorise a grace period from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 to allow the domestic stock of plastic bags ordered before 1 February 2018 to be used up. If the Government cannot amend the 1 July 2018 date, then would the Government provide a reimbursement on the import duty and taxes paid for the stock ordered before 1 February 2018 and provide the conditions on how the retailers and wholesalers can destroy unused stocks?

The Government can consider declaring a stop to any imports of plastic bags, boxes and straws as per Waste Management Act and Regulations from 1 July 2018.

VCCI has requested that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Department consider our urgent request and approve the amendment of the Waste Management Act and Regulations accordingly.

 

Azure Pure Water benefitting from Xero’s efficient and real-time accounting software

 

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Azure Pure Water Accountant working with Xero

azure-pure-water-delivery-drivers

Azure Pure Water drivers are now using Xero on iPads and mobile phones, for deliveries, no more docket books.

 

BLP Interviews Yael Sakker, Sales and Marketing and co- Director of Azure Pure Water

On Wednesday 27 June we celebrated International Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day. Those businesses, which generally employ fewer than 250 people, are the backbone of most economies worldwide and play a key role in developing countries. Businesses in the Pacific tend to underutilize business advisory services which can help them grow and remain healthy and sustainable. Business Link Pacific with the accounting firms vSolutions, AJC and Barrett and Partners in Vanuatu is offering eligible SMEs a free 12-month subscription to Xero accounting software, a cloud-based accounting system that is changing the way small businesses’ approach their accounting. Business Link Pacific caught up with Yael Sakker, Sales and Marketing and co- Director of Azure Pure Water in Vanuatu to learn how Xero has improved the efficiency of their SME.

 

BLP: Tell us a little bit about Azure Pure Water’s story and the challenges you are facing.  

 

Yael Sakker: Azure Pure Water is the manufacturer of Vanuatu Natural bottled water and is the largest bottled water company in Vanuatu. We are located in Port Vila, Vanuatu, but distribute worldwide upon demand.

 

Azure Pure Water has been operating in Vanuatu since 1995 and is now in our 23rd year of operation. In that time, the business has expanded and grown. We took over the business in December 2016 and we currently have about 35 to 40 full-time employees and just over fifty percent are women.

 

We have invested in significant growth, and in raising our standards to comply with international best practice around food and consumer safety. This has been a challenge for our business due to the cost of implementing international [food and consumer safety] auditing (which can cost AUD$15,000). This comes off the bottom line and in our current economy where cash flow is short and in a highly competitive water market, is a big cost for a small business to bear. Achieving international standards and competing in an international market is a real challenge.

 

BLP: Why did Azure Pure Water’s engage vSolutions’ business services and start using Xero? 

 

Yael Sakker: When we took over the business, a very outdated accounting software was in use and had never been updated. I struggled to use it. We approached vSolutions about trying Xero as we had heard good things about it and particularly because it could integrate with cloud-based point of sales and manufacturing stock tracking software. We were very interested in giving it a shot.

 

We were the first business that vSolutions rolled out Xero for and we haven’t looked back. It was a challenge for our accountant and she was hesitant at first, but she came to enjoy the intuitiveness of Xero and the ease of use. We have more than doubled our front office, sales and administrative team. All of them find it easy to use daily, and it certainly helps that it is so simple and intuitive.

 

BLP: Tell us about your use of Xero third-party apps?

 

Yael Sakker: We have integrated Xero with a cloud-based point of sale software called Vend and with Unleashed, a cloud-based manufacturing stock tracking software.

 

All three applications talk to each other. Vend handles the sales and receipts and feeds that to Xero.

Xero handles the accounting. Vend and Unleashed talk to each other about stock levels and Unleashed and Xero talk to each other too. These apps are Xero “plug-ins” and are custom designed to work in seamlessly with Xero.

 

BLP: What benefits is using Xero and third-party apps bringing to your business?

 

Yael Sakker: Xero gives us a lot more visibility over what is going on in the business. It’s easy for us to “stick our heads” in virtually and keep a “real time” eye on things. We have ability to access it on our mobile phones, and we are often on the run and doing business from the car. Wherever we are in the world, it makes it a lot easier for us to leave the business but keep an oversight of what is happening on the ground.

 

Xero has really helped with our efficiency. Personally, the biggest Xero benefit is the dashboard. I login daily and see all our accounts. It’s a nice overview. I really like it. I can see everything that is happening. I can see what payments have come in, the aged receivables, I can pull up a P&L really quickly. There’s none of this “having to dig around and find data”. Previously everything had been incredibly paper based and time consuming.

 

Xero and Vend have given us the capacity to log into the customers’ account and “click on” the invoice number, “click on” the mail icon and quickly send it. It makes it a lot easier for quoting and to set up standing invoices. The interface between Vend and Xero means data is easily transferred so we don’t have to enter data twice.

 

Vend can be used on iPads and mobile phones, so we said to our delivery drivers “no more docket books for you”, because it was very labour intensive for our admin team to scan and save. We gave our delivery drivers iPads and Bluetooth printers to use. At first, they were reluctant, but with some training now they love it (and we get some funny selfies!).

 

This has meant more efficient deliveries. Our sales team take the order, “park” the sale in a Vend waiting list, then the drivers see it on their iPads with the delivery address and they can make the sale. It’s essentially treated as a separate till that the drivers reconcile at the end of the day. So, there is no Chinese whispers with orders. It’s all in there in black and white.

 

Unleashed helps us to manage our stock in real time by integrating with Vend. We set up virtual warehouses in Unleashed so we could better manage stock, and set up automatic product assemblies.

 

BLP: What implementation challenges have you faced?

 

Yael Sakker: It was bit of a challenge to roll this new system out. We did it in three stages and it took us about four months. We are the first business in Vanuatu to be using all three systems together.

 

Thankfully, vSolutions customised Xero solutions for us based on what we wanted to see happen with our business logistics and operations. They helped us start with Xero and Vend, and then recommended Unleashed.

 

vSolutions have also provided staff training and ongoing support with working with these apps and for general accounting. Our staff are now feeling very confident and enjoy using Xero and Vend. Xero’s success for us has been what we have made of it, but the fact that it is so intuitive and simple to use unlike old accountant software means I enjoy using Xero and I feel competent to use it.

 

BLP: Any advice for other Vanuatu SMEs wanting to improve their efficiencies?

 

Yael Sakker: It’s worth investigating Xero for every business to see how it can improve efficiencies in their systems. Obviously, there are costs and time that need to be taken into consideration when implementing these solutions, but there are also opportunities to drive efficiencies in their business. I recommend seeking advice from experienced business advisory services about how Xero and complimentary programs can help to streamline businesses and improve operations. If you don’t know what options are available, how do you know what you can do?

 

BLP: How do you feel about the future of small business in Vanuatu?

 

Yael Sakker: SMEs are crucial not just for the economic development and revenue for the country but for local employment. Over the years, we have seen increasing urban drift into Port Vila and Luganville and SMEs are essential to help make sure that people arriving in urban areas have employment and an ability earn money. SMEs are also essential for gainful employment for those coming back from overseas and university graduates. We hope we will see support for SME growth and ongoing support for investment here in Vanuatu. The economy is challenging at the moment and diversification of the services and products SMEs are offering is important to continue to see the growth in Vanuatu, which is a very small market in comparison to our neighbours regionally.

 

Small and medium sized businesses in Vanuatu interested in accessing the Xero 12 months subscription promotion can contact Kesha Licht at VCCI at [email protected] or Phone 27543 Ext 19 or Mobile 555 5347 or contact direct vSolutions, AJC or Barrett and Partners.

Vanuatu Terminal Services Leadership and Management Training and Challenges and opportunities for SMEs – Today’s focus is on growth and expansion

 

Vanuatu Terminal Services Leadership and Management Training

 

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Vanuatu Terminal Services (VTS) Managers and Supervisors have just completed a Leadership and Management training that was tailored and facilitated by the Business Development Service (BDS) Unit of Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

VTS being a registered subsidiary company of Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL), was established to support AVL contribution and obligations as a State Own Enterprise (SOE). It has revisited its priorities and realized its in-house capacity building being one great tool for Human Resource Development must be strengthen.

VTS has undertaken a detailed training needs analysis for its staffs whereby Leadership and Management training is considered to be a priority. The training delivered commenced on the 11th and completed on the 14th of June 2018. There were a total of 5 participants that attended this training.

Topics discussed were in referral to the current operation of VTS and how the required manuals for their jobs were effectively enforced. A thorough review and discussions on organizational strategic perspectives was done and thus it enhances a clear understanding of roles and duties to achieve align goals. The participants were operationally knowledgeable hence a very comprehensive and interactive training.

Positive feedbacks were provided by the participants at the end of the training. All participants left the training satisfied with their statement of completion award and high mentality to enforce improvement in Leadership and Management within their different divisions of Vanuatu Terminal Services.

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce has a very proactive Business Development Service Unit that is always available to help business houses in terms of trainings in all areas. Please feel free to contact the office on +678 27543/ 7123967 or email [email protected]

You can also access information on Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) website at www.vcci.com

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs – Today’s focus is on growth and expansion

A series of practical articles by Chris Elphick, Breadfruit Consulting.

During this series I am looking at a number of issues relevant to all SMEs and identify both the opportunities and challenges associated with each issue.  Topics to be covered include planning; staff and recruitment; customers and service; marketing; competition; new products and services; being well organised; collaborating with others; understanding and analysing risk; managing the money; going into business with family or friends; grants, loans and investment; growth and expansion; technology and exporting.

Today my focus is on growth and expansion.

Knowing when to grow our businesses is a major challenge for all small business owners. Most of us want to grow so we can increase our profits, employ more people and gain more customers.  The challenge we face is to plan our growth and expansion well and make the right non-emotional choices at the right time.

If we use planning as a good business development tool, then planning the right steps to expand will not be difficult – they will follow on quite naturally.  Growth and expansion must be driven by the business need – is there a good business case to get bigger?  Will growth make more money or just cost us more?  We need to have a clear reason for growing.  Sometimes we can increase profits by just becoming smarter in the way we run what we already have.  We need to be clear what is driving our desire to grow.

If you are considering growth or expansion, follow these steps before making a final decision:

Re-do your SWOT – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats – and use that to help analyse your readiness to grow.

Think about what is going on around you – what is happening in your local business or political environment that could help or hinder growth?

What do you enjoy most about your business at the moment – how will growth affect that?

What do you find most challenging and how will growth impact on that?

Revisit your goals for the next five years – how is growth and expansion going to help you achieve them?

What will growth mean practically in terms of buildings, equipment, staff, products and services, technology, skills and experiences?

Review your financials – talk with your accountant if you have one.

Seek feedback from staff, customers and others like suppliers.

Can you afford it or will you need to borrow?  If you do, can you afford to be in debt?

Consider all these questions, share your responses with a mentor or someone you trust, and then ask yourself if now is the right time to grow.  Do you have clear evidence for growth or just some ill-conceived whim?

It is very easy to over extend ourselves, to take on too big a building or too much debt or too many staff.  Sometime a growth is best in small steps – one step at a time so you have less to lose if things do not work out.

I am not anti-growth but I am anti unplanned growth – I have seen too many really good small businesses become mediocre larger businesses.  Owners who have lost their passion and spark.  Family businesses that have lost that family support and closeness.  Owners who have to work longer hours just to keep paying the ever-increasing bills.

The key to running a good business is to enjoy what you are doing – grow and continue to have fun is likely to be a great recipe for success.  If growth becomes a burden, then that is likely to be a recipe for failure.

If you need help with your own growth and expansion plans or you want some feedback on your own practices, then please get in touch.

Chris Elphick is Partner in Breadfruit Consulting, formerly Learnfast Pacific, supporting the development of a range of businesses and organisations in Melanesia and other parts of the Pacific.  He is an experienced trainer, coach and business mentor and has years of experience of working with Small & Medium Enterprises.  He and his partner Hazel Kirkham live in Vanuatu.

Breadfruit Consulting have partnered with Fiji Entrepreneur to develop mentoring services for new and young entrepreneurs.

If you have an issue or query related to this article, please contact Chris at [email protected] or text to +6785500556 

Missions to serve, VCCI Representation on VNPF Board Mr David Russet, Request For Waste Management Grace Period To End In June 2019 and Other News.

 

Missions to serve

 

If you’re in the private sector trading, or looking to trade across the region, there are six New Zealand-based business councils you should consider being involved in.

They are focused on investment and advocacy for their respective island markets. It has been a busy time for all councils, with the French NZ Chamber of Commerce (representing French Polynesia) hosting a network function on the eve of the All Blacks-France test at Eden park.

The NZ Samoan Trade & Investment Commission similarly hosted a networking event to celebrate Samoan Independence Day.

The NZ Pacific Business Council hosted a member event with the visiting Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Hon. Rick Houenipwela.

On June 25 the NZ Fiji Business Council is leading a business mission to Fiji, which will coincide with the annual conference between the NZ Fiji and the Fiji NZ Business Councils.

The NZ Tonga Business Council has plans for a Business Mission in August. The NZ Tonga Business Council has an After 5 networking event planned for 26 July at NIWA, 41 Market Place on the Viaduct Harbour as well as a Business Mission later this year.

The NZ PNG Business Council also has a networking event planned for next month as well as a Business Mission later this year.

Involvement in these councils is beneficial and, like anything in life, “You get out of it what you put in” said Craig Strong, Pacific Cooperation Foundation CEO.

For information on council membership contact [email protected]

The Consul General, Mackenzie Kalotiti, in Auckland New Zealand, has asked the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry for assistance with identifying businesses that export to or trade goods and services with New Zealand.

There is a plan to establish a NZ Vanuatu Business Council with Pacific Cooperation Foundation in NZ.  The VCCI is seeking your assistance.

If your business fits under this category, and you are happy to, we would be grateful if you could email your business name, contact name and email addresses of businesses in Vanuatu, to [email protected], so that the Consul General may send you an invite to be part of the NZ Vanuatu Business Council once it is established

 

VCCI News

VCCI Representation on VNPF Board Mr David Russet.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Council has unanimously endorsed David Russet, Agriculture Councillor and First Vice President of VCCI, to represent VCCI and the farmers in the VNPF Board at its last Council Meeting of 14 June 2018

 

Request For Waste Management Grace Period To End In June 2019

The Waste Management Act and Regulations, banning single use plastic bags, starts its enforcement on 1 July 2018. The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry acknowledges that it is to safeguard the environment. However there is a serious issue that is existent in which the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry would like to raise.

The retail and wholesale sector currently has a large quantity of plastic bags still in stock. This is due to quantities being ordered in bulk, which may be up to a year’s usage. Custom duty and other import taxes have been paid for these plastic bag stocks. The dumping of plastic bags appears not to be a favourable option. A period of six months before the effective date of the plastic ban is also too short for the plastics in stock to be used up.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry asks that the Government authorise a grace period from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 to allow the domestic stock of plastic bags ordered before 1 February 2018 to be used up. If the Government cannot amend the 1 July 2018 date, then would the Government provide a reimbursement on the import duty and taxes paid for the stock ordered before 1 February 2018 and provide the conditions on how the retailers and wholesalers can destroy unused stock?

The Government can consider declaring a stop to any imports of plastic bags, straws and boxes as per Waste Management Act and Regulations from 1 July 2018.

VCCI requests that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Department consider our urgent request and approve the amendment of the Waste Management Act and Regulations accordingly.

 

Can beautiful accounting software be a game changer for growing businesses in Vanuatu?

 

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Photo: AJC/Groovy Banana

 

One year free subscription to Xero accounting software for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Growing businesses are vital to a thriving Pacific economy. Business Link Pacific is enabling SMEs to get their financial books on track with an innovative accounting assistance partnership.

Business Link Pacific and the accounting and financial service providers in Vanuatu, Barrett and Partners, AJC, and vSolutions are assisting eligible growing enterprises with a one-year free subscription to Xero accounting software.

“Small and medium enterprises can positively transform their societies by creating jobs and improving people’s wellbeing,” said Steve Knapp, Business Link Pacific, Activity Director.

“To grow and become more profitable, these businesses need the best tools they can get, such as Xero,” he said.

Lindsay Barrett from Barrett and Partners believes Business Link Pacific is removing a perceived cost barrier to accessing professional business advice and tools.

“Now it is the business advisers’ opportunity to demonstrate the value we add,” he said.

Accessing Xero is a step forward in the right direction. Martin St-Hilaire from AJC believes that Xero is simply the best accounting and reporting tool available nowadays. It is easy to use, yet powerful and can become the core system behind every small and medium-sized business.

“It is a beautiful accounting cloud-based software that helps you love accounting and business management,” Martin said.

“It is possible to learn how to use it completely online and for free. This is the democratisation of a really useful and powerful tool that was only accessible in the past to big companies that were investing large amounts of money in their financial management systems,” he said.

Enthusiasm for accounting and business management is catching on with growing businesses in Vanuatu as they realise the benefits that outsourced business services bring to their operations.

Trust and transparency are improved by robust accounting systems such as Xero, helping businesses at multiple levels. From paying and receiving bills on time, accessing finance, protecting information from natural disasters and fraud, minimising risks and increasing efficiency – to minimising the workload of business-owners and staff.

“Many small business owners spend their weekends and evenings trying to keep up with the never-ending administrative tasks that come with running a successful business,” said Brendan Toner, Managing Director vSolutions Limited.

“Tools such as Xero have been developed to help make those administrative tasks easier and free up time to focus on more important things – such as spending time with your family or grabbing a shell of kava after work,” he said.

These benefits are welcome news for the people behind the Xero software in the Pacific.

“Xero is a game changer for small business,” said Craig Hudson, Managing Director Xero NZ.

“The size of the small business market is second only to that of individual consumers, and it drives the economies of the Pacific. We are pleased that Xero can help small and medium enterprises and the growing business service providers in Vanuatu and across the Pacific,” he said.

Vibrant, sustainable and profitable businesses help to ensure the economic stability of Pacific countries such as Vanuatu and enable younger generations to access jobs and educational opportunities necessary to reach their goals.

“Small and medium enterprises are key in the development of the country, and helping them is helping economic development at the grass roots to increase their potential, leading to better education, improved health and quality of life—helping Vanuatu remain ‘the happiest place on Earth’” said Martin St-Hilaire, from AJC.

Business Link Pacific, a New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade funded program, works in Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa to support business advisory service providers and empower small business to access relevant tools, develop and grow.

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), supported by Business Link Pacific, has established a new service assisting small and medium enterprises to understand their needs and access professional advice. Now growing businesses in Vanuatu can access affordable and tailored support via the Business Link Pacific Subsidy Scheme.

Small and medium-sized businesses in Vanuatu interested in accessing the Xero 12 months subscription promotion should contact the above service providers or visit Kesha Licht at VCCI for a free business diagnostic.

The new Business Services Office

Email address – [email protected]

Landline – 27543 Ext 19

Mobile – (678) 5555347

 

 

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs – Today’s focus is on grants, loans and Investments

A series of practical articles by Chris Elphick, Breadfruit Consulting.

During this series I am looking at a number of issues relevant to all SMEs and identify both the opportunities and challenges associated with each issue.  Topics to be covered include planning; staff and recruitment; customers and service; marketing; competition; new products and services; being well organised; collaborating with others; understanding and analysing risk; managing the money; going into business with family or friends; grants, loans and investment; expansion and growth; technology and exporting.

Today my focus is on grants, loans and investments.

The first challenge is to adjust our mind-set that says, ‘I can’t do anything without money’.  Access to funds comes quite a way behind passion, commitment, creativity, problem solving, good ideas and determination.  When all these attributes are in place then maybe it is time to look for funds if we need them.

All over the Pacific there are many schemes encouraging people to take out micro loans or to leave the ranks of the ‘unbanked’! Banks have special offers aimed at SMEs as long as we can produce the collateral to support the loan.  There are government supported schemes like the YES programme in Fiji which will make limited funds available provided certain criteria are met.  There are various programmes run by donors usually focused on specific sectors like tourism or issue based like climate change.  There are organisations like Pacific Trade and Invest who specialise in helping Pacific businesses access export markets and overseas investors.  Some people will borrow from friends or family.

Even with all these schemes it is still hard for many small businesses to access them, especially for those a long way from the urban centres.

Chasing the money is not a sound or sustainable business strategy and I don’t recommend it, no matter how attractive the offer may sound.  Everything comes with strings attached – make sure you understand what they are and that you are prepared to accept them.

Many entrepreneurs have started very successful businesses with no external finance and have grown their businesses slowly and debt free.  The need to borrow money needs to come from some robust and accurate planning where all other avenues have been exhausted and the consequences of borrowing or seeking investment are well understood.  Of course, in some cases a well-planned injection of cash will do wonders for the business and help it grow.

Unfortunately, I have seen too many SMEs take out what appears to be very small loans without knowing the interest rates or how they will repay or what they really want the money for.  I have even seen businesses borrow to repay earlier loans! If you have limited financial knowledge then seek help from someone who is independent – a mentor or coach or advisor.  Ask your local Chamber of Commerce or business association.  Research everything that is available before deciding on one particular financial product.

If your business is interesting it may attract the attention of investors – don’t be flattered into saying yes!!  No-one will invest in your business without wanting something back – a return on their investment.  Make sure you know exactly what this is before making a decision.  How much control will you need to give up in order to get an injection of capital and is it worth it?

Remember, if an offer looks too good to be true then it probably is!!

Finally, desperation is not a good reason to go into debt!  Explore every other avenue first.  Shop around to see what the best deals are and then seek help to make sure you can afford the deal and that it is the right one for you at this time.   Spend time developing your own financial literacy – your Chamber of Commerce or business association will be able to tell you what courses are being run and where.  The more you know and understand the more likely you are to make the right decision and the more you will feel empowered.

Focus on creating a solid business strategy first and then you can explore the help you might need to turn the strategy into action and achievable goals.

If you need help with understanding or analysing available grants, loans and investment or you want some feedback on your own practices, then please get in touch. 

Chris Elphick is Partner in Breadfruit Consulting, formerly Learnfast Pacific, supporting the development of a range of businesses and organisations in Melanesia and other parts of the Pacific.  He is an experienced trainer, coach and business mentor and has years of experience of working with Small & Medium Enterprises.  He and his partner Hazel Kirkham live in Vanuatu.

Breadfruit Consulting have partnered with Fiji Entrepreneur to develop mentoring services for new and young entrepreneurs.

If you have an issue or query related to this article, please contact Chris at [email protected] or text to +6785500556 

Invitation to attend Global Employers Climate action Forum 25 July 2018 in Suva, Fiji, Seminar on China Economic Globalization and Other News.

 

Invitation to attend Global Employers Climate Action Forum 25 July 2018 in Suva, Fiji

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) was handed the Presidency of the Marrakech Business Action for Climate (MBA 4 Climate) during COP23 in Bonn Germany in 2017.

MBA 4 Climate in a network of Global Employers’ Association who are committed to accelerating climate action for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The network aims to create synergy and permanent exchanges between the private sector with the objective of achieving commitments to:

  • Partner with governments and all other actors in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and
  • Promote the emergence of a new low-carbon economy that combats Climate Change (CC) while creating new jobs and advancing shared economic prosperity.

Through this global partnership and network, FCEF is hosting a one day Global Employers Climate Action Forum on 25 July 2018 at the Holiday Inn, Suva, Fiji.

Participants from international and regional organisations are invited to attend and share lessons learned and experiences on their active commitment in acceleration climate action to support the Paris Agreement and the operationalization of the “Fiji Declaration” which was endorsed in Bonn, Germany.

The theme of the Global Employers Forum is “Fiji Declaration: Resilient Businesses and Communities” and will be deliberated under the following topics:

  • Session 1:  Scaling up Private Sector Climate Finance
  • Session 2:  Promoting climate insurance and building resilient businesses
  • Session 3:  Driving a Green/Blue Economy

Attendance and participation in this Forum is free by invitation only.  However all costs related to travel, accommodation, meals and incidentals will be borne by the individual or organisation invited to attend. To register, you will need to complete and return the registration Form by email to [email protected] or [email protected]

Registrations will close on 20 June 2018.

You may download the Registration Form using this link: : GECF Registration Form

More information about the Global Employers Climate Action Forum, visas and getting around in Fiji can be accessed using this link: Information Paper

For further questions/queries, and ask for the registration form, you may contact the following personnel Mr Waisea Vosa, email [email protected] or [email protected], ph; (+679) 3313188 or (+679) 9995903

 

Seminar on China Economic Globalization and made in China for Developing Countries – September October 2018

Vanuatu is so fortunate to be part of a seminar being organised by the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC). The Chinese government aims to enhance mutual understanding, deepen friendship, and establish platforms for promoting communication and cooperation among developing countries.

This seminar will explain how the Chinese financial system works and how government and state enterprises work. Building on this, you will gain an understand on how to deal with them and how to shake the money tree, so to speak, whether it be for your private business or government financial assistance.

This seminar includes presentations and field trips.  All presentations are given by government official or experts, covering topics such as “General Review of China”, “China’s opening-up & Economic Development”, “ The Governing Ideas and Style of China’s New Leadership” “Functions of CCPIT and Establishment of Trade Promotion System in China”, Sustainable Development of Chinese economy & Latest Economic Development Strategy”, Interpretation of Made in China 2025, “The trend of Economic Globalization”, “Cross Border E-commerce in China” and so on.

Participants will visit Ningbo and Shaoxing of Zhejiang Province and Kunming of Yunnan Province where they will meet with local government officials, visit enterprises and exchange ideas with them so that they can get a better understanding of China’s economic development,  and at the same time seek opportunities for more cooperation.

All expenses are covered (100%) through the Embassy of China, and it is a 3 weeks seminar.

For those of you who may wish to attend this seminar, please submit your name before 11 July 2018. This is the new deadline to submit your name to VCCI.

Please click here to view and download the followings:-

1. Project Description 

2. Brief Introduction on 2018 training in China 

For more information on the project description of this seminar and brief introduction on 2018 Training in China, please contact VCCI Office 27543 or email [email protected]

 

Vanuatu Young Entrepreneurs Council Elects New Committee

Vanuatu Young Entrepreneurs Council (VYEC) was established on the 11th of November 2016. Since VYEC’s establishment, the council had its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 24th of May 2018 to accept and approve the 2017 Annual Report, and also for the adoption of VYEC constitution by the members. The Election of the Executive Committee is a follow on agenda from the AGM.

VYEC has officially elected its new Executive Committee on the 29th of May 2018. The new committee was elected through a fair representation of members who casted their votes.  The election took place at the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

The Council is now headed by Mr. Mathias Boe as President, Ms. Yvonne Leo Taiki as Vice President, Ms. Agnes Samuel as Secretary, Mr. Ignace Meltenoven as Vice- Secretary, Ms. Rutha Timothy as Treasurer, Mr. Stanley Fred as Vice Treasurer and Mr. Blake Napwatt and Mr. Jack Ulas as Members.

VYEC aims to represent the right and interest of the young entrepreneurs in Vanuatu. The outgoing executive lead by Mr. Maxwell Nasak has done a lot of good work whereby the newly elected council highly appreciated. The 2017 – 2020 strategic plan of VYEC clearly outlines the goals and tasks that the council together with its members and respective stakeholders must work together and ensure they are achieved.

The new Executive Committee will soon meet to discuss detailed work plan to ensure strategic goals are achieved.  VYEC now appeals too all young entrepreneurs interested to join, please contact Mob: +678 5329377 or Email: [email protected] for more information on VYEC and registration.
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Above Picture:- Vanuatu Young Entrepreneurs Council – New Elected Committees for 2018

 

Let food be thy medicine

Pacific Cooperation Foundation News 8 Jun 2018

Having lived in Vanuatu for more than three decades, Kiwi expat Cornelia Wyllie noticed what she calls ‘the feast and famine seasons’. As a farmer, and fierce advocate of organic self-sufficiency, Cornelia established her agribusiness Vanuatu Direct to reduce waste, ensure food security and improve the livelihoods of Ni Vanuatu farmers.

Cornelia has built on the success of Vanuatu Direct through its branch-company Fine Foods Ltd, founded in 2016. Sustaining two food processing companies on an island nation consisting of more than 80 small islands is a remarkable feat. Cornelia herself remains modest.

“It’s not about me, but what Fine Foods stands for. It proudly adopts Hippocrates’ statement: ‘Let food be thy medicine’.

“As the CEO, I bring together and partner with growers within Vanuatu. My team share the same passion of ensuring the foods we create improves health.”

Cornelia calls Vanuatu the ‘nutraceutical capital of the South Pacific’. People may not be familiar with the term ‘nutraceutical’ but many will have seen countless dietary supplements readily available in chemists and supermarkets, all of which claim to be nutraceutical.

“Fine Foods has achieved what the food processing world considers the holy grail – a clean label. No chemicals, gums or guars, nothing artificial is added.”

It has five exportable food products listed on its website www.finefoods.vu ·

Vanu’kai – rare exotic multiflora honey ·

Natur’kai – bites of authentic islands foods ·

Spicy’kai Cannibal sauce ·

“F” Juice ·

Lime juice

Due to its growing popularity with customers in New Zealand and Australia, Fine Foods is working on more products.

“For 2018 we’ve got ready-to-eat sea cucumbers, long-life kava, taro torpedoes, chestnuts and another juice. All high-end, all with a high nutraceutical value, all for a market that can’t get enough!”

let-food-be-thy-medicine

Picture showing CEO of Fine Foods Ltd introducing food be thy medicine

Businesses to the National Environment Week Exhibition, New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council and Other News

 

Businesses to the National Environment Week Exhibition

The Vanuatu Environmental Science Society and No Plastik Bag Plis have the pleasure of inviting any interested businesses to the opening of National Environment Week Exhibition at Espace Alliance Française this week.

This is an open invitation to any interested, who may wish to participate on World Environment Day and focus on the UN World Environment Day with the 2018 Theme as “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

During this exhibition there will also be general information of the problems with plastic in the environment and what people can do to reduce the impact, a large part of this exhibition will be dedicated to asking people to make a pledge on plastic.

The Vanuatu Environmental Science Society and No Plastik Bag Plis, have come up with some suggestions for people to sign up Plastics Pledge as individuals, company, department or organisation or as a community group or school.

There will be an opportunity during the opening or any time whilst the exhibition is open to sign up to a Plastic pledge should any one wish to do so.

This National Environment Week Exhibition opening will be held today on Monday 4th June 2018 at 5pm at Espace Alliance Française

The responsible Departments also encourage everybody to collect data during a clean-up on June 2018 and again in September 2018. Data on litter helps to see what items are causing the biggest problem in the environment. Last year’s data on litter clean ups helped shape the policy and informed the Government on what items to include in the first round of the plastic ban. The ban on plastic bags, plastic straws and polystyrene takeaway boxes comes into effect on 1st July 2018. So this year it is particularly important to gather as much data from clean ups in as many different places as possible. It would be really useful to see the data from June 2018 – before the ban and from September 2018 – 2 months after the ban, to see how effective the ban is at stopping these plastic items getting into our environment. Whether or not you are able to come to the exhibition, if you could organize a cleanup, no matter how small, and send us the completed data sheets, you will be helping us to “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

For more information on Environment Week Exhibition please email Vanuatu Environmental Science Society at:  [email protected]

 

New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has been advised that the Consulate General of the Republic of Vanuatu in Auckland, New Zealand, led by the Consul General Mr McKenzie Kalotiti, have initiated some discussions with the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) to explore if there is an interest in setting up a New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council. The New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council will aim to link importers and exporters of goods and services to and from Vanuatu. They are looking for Vanuatu businesses which would fall in this category and would assist in furthering this idea. Similar groupings have been established for other Pacific Islands Countries resulting in some positive impacts.

If you, businessmen and business women, are interested to learn more about this initiative of creating the New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council, you can contact VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or by phone on +678 27543 or mobile +678 7123967.

 

Vanuatu National Provident Fund Customer Service Training 

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce through its Business Training and BDS Unit has just spent two weeks delivering competency based customer service training to the Vanuatu National Provident Fund staff members.

In accordance to the VNPF Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022, there has been a very strong emphasis on customer service at the organization. VNPF’s customers are not just the members but also the users of VNPF service through all means.

VNPF has undertaken a detailed training needs assessment and realized that customer service is of high importance.

There were a total of 33 participants for this training. The training was dispersed into two groups, the first group commenced on the 14th and ended on the 17th of May and the second group started on the 21st and ended on the 24th of May 2018. All participants have received their statement of completion right after they have completed their training.

The training was very interactive and many topics were discussed. Some of the key topics discussed were to understand VNPF, Importance of personality in the workplace, understanding your external customers and your internal customers and their importance in the customer service in VNPF as a member institution, diagnostic of staff personal customer service skills, and also deeper understanding of the current customer service situation at VNPF and Identifying ways on how loop holes in their current customer service skills can be improved.

Positive feedbacks were provided by the participants at the end of the training. All participants left the training satisfied with their Statement of Completion Award and high mentality to enforce improvement in their customer service skills within different work divisions in VNPF.

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry has a very proactive Training Business Development Services Unit that is always available to help business houses in terms of trainings in all areas. Please feel free to contact the office by phone on +678 27543/ 7123967 or email [email protected]

You can also access information on Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) website at www.vcci.com

 

vnpf-4-6-18

Group 1 :  Organizing Customers Service to meet VNPF demand training

 

vnpf-doc-2

Group 1 :  Organizing Customers Service to meet VNPF demand training

 

Inaugural Meeting of the Pacific Resilience Partnership Taskforce

30/5/18United in their commitment to an integrated and inclusive approach for resilient development in the Pacific, representatives of government, civil society, private sector, regional agencies, and development partners met for the first-time last week as the Pacific Resilience Partnership Taskforce.

The Partnership Taskforce was established to provide an all-stakeholder approach to climate change and disaster risk management in the region and provide an innovative platform to drive, enhance and promote resilient development.

“The Pacific Resilience Partnership was created by Pacific leaders to implement the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific,” said Taskforce Chair Mr. Engel Raygadas of French Polynesia.

“Because of climate and disaster issues we have to carefully develop in a smart way, in a sustainable way. We have to care for our islands and our oceans to adapt to the reality of climate change. Pacific leaders want to see more collaboration and coherence around how we do this and they believe that this Partnership can help and is necessary.”

The Partnership Taskforce agreed to commit and advocate an all-stakeholder approach to drive behavioural change and embrace inclusivity and innovation into resilient development.

One of the central discussion points among Taskforce members focussed on the establishment of criteria to help align initiatives under the approach in the Framework, and to foster strong partnerships.

When it was endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in 2016, the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific put the region at the forefront of global efforts towards climate change and disaster risk management due to it being the first regionally integrated framework to address both a changing climate and increased disaster events.

To ensure inclusive participation of a range of key stakeholders, the Taskforce comprises fifteen members, with five representing Pacific countries and territories, five for civil society and private sector, and five for regional organisations and development partners.

The current members are: Cook Islands (for Polynesia), Solomon Islands (for Melanesia), French Polynesia (for Pacific Territories), Australia (for Australia/NZ), Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations, Pacific Disability Forum, & the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (for civil society), South Pacific Engineering Association, Pacific Business Resilience Network (for private sector), the European Union, United Nations Development Programme, World Bank, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and the University of the South Pacific (for regional organisations and development partners). It is supported in its work by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Pacific Community, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

Media inquiries Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat: [email protected]

Pacific Community (SPC): [email protected]

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme: [email protected]

IFRC: Hanna Butler: [email protected]