Private Sector cautioned over hike in rental fees and charges

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management as part of the Economic Stimulus Package Policy Implementation, was made aware over allegations that despite the current period of economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, various business including property owners and rental proprietor owners are intentionally taking advantage of the situation to impose higher than normal rental fees and charges on their clients or Tenant, to cover for loss in business revenue.

The Ministry of Finance is made aware that this is already happening in Luganville and Port Vila. Several tenants have raised their concern up to higher government authorities, which finally persuade the Ministry of Finance to respond.

Minister for Finance and Economic Management, MP Johnny Koanapo was quoted saying that “this is not the right time to entertain such attitude. Property owners should refrain from taking such decisions”.

He said the government will not support such attitude as it will only do more harm than good for the tenants, who are already struggling to survive. Landlords and property are caution to be more mindful and be accommodative to their tenants so they can continue to support each other.

The Minister called on the support from the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry to support the government in ensuring that the private sector continues to work together with the government to support the livelihood of the people.

Meanwhile the government has already agreed to cancel Rent Tax in 2020 that was supposed to be paid to the government as part of its Tax relief measures. Additionally, businesses are exempted from paying their business Licenses in 2020 as well, so the government has helped the private sector and this is already a plus for them.