15 Jan 2003

Vanuatu president signs bills on tax and kava into law

12:13 pm on 15 January 2003

Vanuatu's head of state, President John Bani, has signed two controversial bills into law inspite of a growing outcry from the public.

The bills are the Debit Tax Bill which will deduct about 10 cents from bank transactions of ten US dollars or more, and the Kava Bill which bans all but ni-Vanuatu people from farming or exporting kava.

NGOs have criticised the debit bill, saying it will adversely affect grass roots communities.

A growing number of racially mixed or naturalised citizens have attacked the Kava Bill as racist and will promote apartheid by giving ni-Vanuatu or indigenous farmers exclusive rights to farm or export the crop..

They say that the bill goes against their constitutional right to be treated the same as ni-Vanuatu.