28 Mar 2006

Vanuatu finance minister says kava policy will help economic growth

3:13 pm on 28 March 2006

Vanuatu's Finance Minister Willie Jimmy says the country's economy will continue to grow after the government retracted its kava exporting policy.

The government this month backtracked on a recent order to give monopoly over kava to the Vanuatu Commodities and Marketing Board.

The move appeared to save the government from being toppled in a motion of no-confidence last week.

Opposition support leading up to the motion had been galvanised by the outcry over the government's move to give Kava to the board as a prescribed commodity.

But Mr Jimmy says disapproval of the policy from within government ranks forced the government to backtrack on it.

"It is no longer a prescribed commodity under the law - that is the difference. We removed it as a prescribed commodity which means this time no, we remove it. So it is open - VCMB must issue export permits to others like before - that is what happens."

Willie Jimmy says Vanuatu's economic growth of recent years will continue with the government's focus on stimulating the rural economy.