14 Jun 2006

Agriculture Bank will give ni-Vanuatu stake in economy, says finance minister

3:52 pm on 14 June 2006

Vanuatu's Finance Minister says the establishment of an Agriculture Development Bank is an essential step to take if agriculture is to be the country's main economic activity.

The Government is expected to retain 60 percent shares in the Bank and put the other 40 percent in the open market.

Willie Jimmy says the Bank, which will cost around 4.6 million US dollars to start, will give ni-Vanuatu access to funds so they can contribute to the country's economic activity.

"Because the government still believes that agriculture and tourism will be the main economic activities for Vanuatu, so it's only proper that we concentrate on trying to improve our performances on the economy and try to get the majority of ni-Vanuatu to become a stakeholder in the industry."

While the bill was unanimously approved, one of the major concerns raised by MPs was political interference as has been the experience with the failed Vanuatu Development Bank.

However, Mr Jimmy says the Bank structure will be established to ensure that there is no political interference in the running of the institution.