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Word on the Street…

Azure Pure closes

On Monday 23 December, Glenn Craig from Pacific Advisory was appointed official receiver of Azure Pure Water after its owners made a decision to shut down its operations. Webster Bule has been contracted to oversee the affairs of the business. The question on the mind of stakeholders is whether the business can be sold off as a going concern or whether the assets are liquidated to pay off its creditors. Ultimately, this will depend upon the ongoing future profitability of the business. The creditors meeting will clarify this.

Lelepa Beach

Royal Caribbean and Perfect Day at Lelepa

Following the announcement by Royal Caribbean Cruises in October of its plan to build a private island on Lelepa, called Perfect Day at Lelepa, there have been concerns raised by some people from Lelepa at the speed at which the project is progressing. Rumours are that nothing has happened since that announcement. Are we going to see some ground breaking soon??? Local residents have also expressed concern about how the pristine area will be able to handle half a million visitors each year and what benefits will fl ow on to the people from Lelepa. Royal Caribbean need to clarify what they are doing.

New regulation on Safety Equipment for small Boats

The Office of the Maritime Regulator will be implementing new regulations concerning the minimum safety equipment every boat will need to have. Every private or commercial vessel including fiberglass banana boats operating as transport or just fishing will now need to be surveyed for this. Wonder how it will be done for those in remote island communities like TORBA.

Mortgagee Sales on the rise?

In another sign of the times, we have seen with regularity advertisements placed in the Daily Post for offers on land and property under mortgagee possession. With the recent closure of Azure Pure Water, is this another indication that all is not well with business conditions and the further downward pressure on property values?? There is also increased amounts of vacant commercial space for rent in the Port Vila . Falling values of property will affect bank security and this compounds the problem of bank reluctance to lend, especially under the current business conditions. It appears that the banks are keen to lend to borrowers who do not need financing and are reluctant to provide extra working capital to those who need it the most and are currently facing cash fl ow problems.

North Efate Drought Conditions / Bushfire danger??? Is it affecting water supplies on outer islands

The bushfires in Australia have been in the news recently. If anyone has recently driven to Havannah Harbour, you will see that the vegetation is extremely dry there too and the water in the creeks are very low. In the last few years, we have seen more and more development happening at Havannah Harbour. Does Vanuatu have the capability to fight large bushfire that get out of control and what measures are being taken to avoid any possible bushfire.

New Supermarket to Open in Port Vila

Word on the street is that a new French Supermarket will be open in Port Vila in 2020 and be based in a prominent commercial location. This will increase competition in our already small market under depressed business conditions. Let’s hope it will not do a Leaderprice Supermarket and close up after a short period of time due to tough business conditions in this market.

Work Permit Appeals denied

Recently, 2 appeals against a Government decision to reject work permits were denied. The Daily Post appealed the decision of Labour to refuse the work permit application for Dan McGarry but the appeal was recently denied by the committee. The Daily Post is considering a Judicial Review of this decision but will wait for the official advice from the government on its decision and the grounds for it. Coincidentally, word in the street is that The Air Vanuatu Chief Engineer also did not have his work permit renewed and lost his appeal. All this followed by a major mechanical issue over the same weekend stranding hundreds of passengers.

Elections

Word on the street is that with the forthcoming elections, businesses will be approached by many candidates seeking financial support. This is the opportunity for those in the business community to support those candidates who have policies that they agree with.

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