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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Vanuatu Housing Board Member Calls For Internal Audit
Authority over state housing corporation uncertain

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 30, 2013) – A Board Member of the National Housing Corporation, Jean Claude Toure-Garae, has called on the ministry responsible and the Vanuatu Government to have an audit carried out on the Corporation’s activities.

He made this comment after being on the Board for over one and half years but felt that many projects that have been approved by the Board during his term have not been implemented.

"There are a number of questions that need to be answered in regard to the functions of the National Housing Corporation," he said.

One of the examples he raised was what he termed ‘confusion’ at this point of time as to which ministry is responsible for the National Housing Corporation.

He complained that the Board Members were not informed to be present last week when the new Internal Affairs Minister paid an official visit to the Corporation.

"Our (Board Members) understanding is that the portfolio of the National Housing Corporation has be transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office.

"And while still waiting for the clarification to be made, the Internal Affairs Minister paid an official visit to the Corporation during his visit of the organizations under his portfolios," Toure-Garae said.

When Daily Post contacted the Public Service Commission, a staff within the PSC said the National Housing Corporation is under the Prime Minister’s Office.

But a staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told Daily Post otherwise –that the portfolio of the National Housing Corporation is under the responsibility or portfolio of the Internal Affairs Ministry hence the familiarization visit by the Minister to the NHC Offices.

The staff contacted also confirmed that the appointments of the Board Members of the National Housing Corporation were made by the Minister of Internal Affairs which was also confirmed by Mr. Jean Claude Toure-Garae.

"It is confusing at this stage as to which Ministry the national Housing Corporation comes under. We the Board Members are confused ourselves," Toure-Garae told Daily Post.

He said the main concentration of the Corporation is collecting outstanding payments of the Fresh Water Housing Scheme and the sale and repurchase of the houses and lands.

"Practically there is no more vacant land in the Fresh Water Housing Corporation Scheme. The Board has recommended to the Government to find a new area where low cost housing scheme can be carried out for the low income wage earners but this project has never been carried out along with many other project proposals that would make the National Housing Corporation Scheme the largest Real Estate for the Government and the people of Vanuatu," Toure-Garae claimed.

"The National government is yet to pay the National Housing Corporation for the Lands occupied by the Fresh Water School, the Fresh Water Football Field and the Fresh Water Park.

Funds from these which would amount to several million vatu can be used to secure another space to build more houses for the low income wage earners," Toure-Garae stressed.

''One of the most important thing to do now is to have the National Housing Corporation audited and the ministry responsible must assist the Board in getting this done and clarification made to the Board as to which Ministry is actually responsible for the NHC," Board Member Jean Claude Toure-Garae stressed.

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