Get to know Diana Salwai better


Diana Salwai - AJC team

Diana Salwai is Accountant & Receptionist at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ? 

I’m from Vanuatu and specifically from Pentecost Island and living in Port Vila which is the capital of the country. I love my Island because it is the place that I was born, grew up and started going to school.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

I moved to Port Vila to continue my studies at Montmartre Secondary School.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

– Cooking: My best hobbies in my life. I love cooking homemade meals because they contain less fat and healthy and very nutritious. Homemade salad dressing, cooking hot breakfast, make stock of ingredients, doing pies and many more….

– Travel: I also love travelling to see different types of cultures around the world.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Professionally: I will be looking for opportunities to expand my role to work towards my goal.

Personally: Being or becoming a chef with more technique or more perfect!

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

The Best Smiling Country in the World!

Diana Salwai on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Diana Salwai

Diana Salwai - AJC Vanuatu

Get to know Martin St-Hilaire better


Martin St-Hilaire - AJC team

Martin is Director at AJC.

We asked him 5 questions to get to know him better.

1. Where do you come from ?

Saint-Nicolas(village), Québec (province), Canada (pays)…

This is part of the metropolitan area around Quebec city. Quebec is the Capital city of Quebec province and the most francophone city of  Canada. About 750,000 people live in that city. Winter are long and cold and that makes people that live in such environment people that live more inside the house than outside.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

The adventure, the opportunity, the challenge… and I stayed because I love the country. I love the atmosphere, the climate, the nation and the population. The vibe of Port Vila, the diversity of culture, and language. The friendliness and kindness of the people, …

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

These days I run a bit, I play squash and I play tennis with my kids. Also, I try to spend time with my kids during week-ends, playing card games, ping pong, chess, etc.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

This is a difficult question. I hope I will be healthy and still have a lot of energy. I believe my future is highly link with Vanuatu future. I hope to be able to have employee to take over my role in 10 years as I would like to slow down a bit then.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

Port Vila is as multicultural and diverse as New York but it has the size of a village and this make this city unique in the whole world. I love the smile and the kindness of the Vanuatu. I love the mix between the tradition and the new world. The mix between the technology and the tradition, the unspoiled and underdevelopment with the development, the slowness and the quickness,  some things are done with urgency while other take ages. It is a really young country, with a young population and it has hope and energy and the future is ahead not behind.


AJC is a member of the Vanuatu Association of Accountants – VAA


Wednesday, November 18 2020 marked the official reformed of the Vanuatu Association of Accountants with a new committee.

Mr. Marokon Alilee, current Chairman of the VAA, was also one of the funding members of the Association when it first established in December 2003.

The core objectives of the Association remain the same, to promote the interests of Accountants in Vanuatu and the services provided by accountants within the local community. This will be achieved through education, training, technical support and advocacy. Members will work to represent the views and concerns of the profession to governments, regulators, industries, academia and the general public.

Annual fee:

  • Ordinary – Vt5,000
  • Associate – Vt2,500
  • Studen – Vt1,000
  • Corporate – Vt20,000 (includes up to two (2) person memberships)

Committee Members:

  • Chairman                        Marokon  Alilee
  • Vice Chairman                John Aruhuri
  • Secretary                         Shirley Bule
  • Treasurer                        Chloe Rolland
  • Committee Member      Delmay Shem
  • Committee Member      Francis Simelum
  • Committee Member      Scott Proud

As well as AJC three leading Vanuatu Accounting firms: iCOUNT, Barrett and Partners and Moores Rowland, have joined the Association.

Find more details on the Vanuatu Association of Accountants on the new website: vaa.vu

Vanuatu Association of Accountants - VAA - AJC
Vanuatu Daily Post – The founding members of the VAA

AJC is happy to be a member of this new association and what it represents for the accounting field.

We would like to congratulate Chloé Rolland, with AJC since August 2019, and now also treasurer of the VAA.

Congratulations Chloe, we are proud of your involvement in the Vanuatu community.



AJC co-founds the new Financial Markets Association of Vanuatu


Last week marked the launch of the new Financial Markets Association of Vanuatu (FMA Vanuatu) in Port Vila.

An executive committee of six agents of Vanuatu’s Financial Broker Licensing Program (FDL), including AJC, launched FMA Vanuatu as a self-regulatory body for license holders who provide retail traders with platforms to buy and sell financial instruments and securities online. The committee established the association as a non-profit organization.

FMA Vanuatu’s aims are “to develop, implement and uphold the highest professional standards in order to protect our industry from financial crime, earn the trust of our partners and clients and contribute to the long-term prosperity of Vanuatu,” according to the association’s mission statement.

As well as AJC, the five additional FDL agents on the association’s committee are: Barrett & Partners, Company Services Limited, Icount, Law Partners and Moores Rowland. FMA Vanuatu is headquartered in Port Villa.

In addition to helping its members comply with the highest online trading standards, the association’s will set up a disciplinary committee of peers and government regulators to arbitrate complaints and implement sanctions in accordance with the FDL program, which was established in 2016 and is overseen by the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC).

Find more details on the Financial Markets Association of Vanuatu on the new website: fma.vu

FMA Vanuatu - Financial Markets Association of Vanuatu - AJC
 The founding members of FMA Vanuatu on the rooftop of our new office in Port Vila. Left to right: Roy McDonald (Company Services Limited – digitally added using photo editing software), Sharon Vuti (Moores Rowland), Margaux Carel (AJC), Martin St-Hilaire (AJC), Mathilde Auger (Law Partners), Preyanka Philip (iCount), Daniel Agius (iCount), Mark Stafford (Barrett & Partners), Jonathan Law (Law Partners).

You can also consult:

The Financial Markets Association of Vanuatu official launch: Press release

The Financial Markets Association of Vanuatu: Supporting a responsible financial services industry


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Le Trail Pacific 2020 infographic


Some figures on this 3rd edition of the Trail Pacific 2020.

Le Trail Pacific 2020 Infographic - AJC Vanuatu

The infographic is available for download: Le Trail Pacific 2020 – Infographic


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Solid ground: Adopting land value taxation in Vanuatu


This is a summary of a more detailed essay by Terence Dwyer.

Click here to read it

Collecting Vanuatu’s public revenue through a land value rate would empower the most productive among us, and protect the most vulnerable, raising money more equitably.

Land Value-island-Vanuatu-AJC

Citizens of OECD member countries are accustomed to equating government revenue with taxation of their income and purchases, among other things. But what if this kind of taxation, while accepted as a necessary evil in the West, was actually an impediment to the well-being of a community? What if we could do better, and raise more revenue more fairly from all segments of society?  This is not a far-fetched notion. Economists long ago came to the conclusion that the only fair and efficient means of filling the public purse is not by taxing labour or capital, but by taxing land.

The explanation requires a few steps back.

Over two centuries ago, when the underpinnings of modern economics were taking shape,  people like the French Physiocrats and the British John Locke and Adam Smith postulated that the total value of everything produced in a country comes from the returns on three factors of production:

  • Land (all natural resources including agricultural or mineral lands, fishing or water rights, the electromagnetic spectrum, etc.)
  • Labour (mental or physical, skilled or unskilled)
  • Capital (the physical man-made tools of production including equipment, buildings, any product used in the further production of other things)

All governments need revenue to provide the essential public services and infrastructure needed by a civilised community. What most developed countries do today is collect, via taxation, on the returns of all three factors of production: the rent of the land, the wages of labour, and the profits of capital. 

What may come as a surprise except to some economists is that all forms of taxation – whether on income, value-added, turnover, licensing – have one shortcoming in common: they reduce the supply of labour and capital. This bears looking at in more detail.

Firstly, labour. If one deprives workers of a proportion of what they get from working, they might decide to work less, or try to pass the tax on to their employers or clients by demanding higher wages or fees. This may reduce the effective earnings of the employer or clients who can no longer so easily afford the worker’s output. Taxing the wages of labour diminishes the supply of useful labour and therefore necessarily diminishes the national output of goods and services.

As for capital, assuming that people invest to the extent it is profitable to do so, once a tax on the profits from capital is introduced, investments with smaller margins of profitability will be abandoned. Workers employed in the affected businesses will lose their jobs, depressing wage levels, while the lack of capital will reduce the productivity of other workers. Any diminution in the profits of capital through taxation leads to a withdrawal of physical capital, through abandonment, non-repair, usage past obsolescence and non-replacement.

Where there’s tax there’s shift

People around the world are used to these forms of taxation, and they’ve been levied for a long time by many governments. But their widespread use doesn’t necessarily mean they are an optimal solution for raising public revenue. Because of the distortions they introduce in economic activity, they inevitably inflict some damage on the economy in the form of deadweight loss or excess burden. 

Here’s how that happens: All taxes end up being shifted by businesses and consumers. After a tax is introduced, a whole process of readjustment takes place in economic activity so that the factors of production maximize after-tax rates of return, which will be less than the previous tax-free rate of return on labour and capital.

A lose-lose situation

For example, a doctor faced with an increased tax burden can decide to put up his fees and work fewer hours; his real contribution to the economy is reduced but his income declines less because his fees are higher. The government may collect tax on a portion of his former income but the community still suffers a loss of his contribution. This is a pure deadweight loss – a revenue loss to government and a value loss to the community.

This doctor may also engage in tax avoidance. Instead of altering his real economic output, he’ll seek legal loopholes to reduce his tax burden while continuing to work as much as before. Legal tax avoidance may paradoxically help the economy by limiting the deadweight loss which would otherwise be caused by taxation through withdrawal of labour or capital from active production.

Others opt for illegal tax evasion, which turns otherwise law abiding individuals into criminals, and leads to an attitude of contempt for the law generally and corrupts public morals.

Land doesn’t budge

If taxing the wages of labour or the profits of capital ends in economic damage, then what about taxing the rent of the land?

As the forefathers of economics noted long ago, labour and capital are put to production because of the voluntary actions of human beings. Only land exists and is available for use in production independently of our will. While there is no fixed or automatic supply of willing workers or investment in plant machinery, equipment and buildings, the supply of land is indeed fixed. Land is the only passive, immobile factor of production: it lies, waiting to be used. 

Hence early economists realized that public revenue collected from the rent of land (we’ll call it a “land value rate”) was uniquely efficient and could not be shifted by the landholder through any actions of his own. Indeed, the theorem that a tax on land cannot be shifted was the first theorem ever postulated in economics and remains an oft-forgotten key to crafting equitable tax policy.

“Land value rate” is different from property taxes, which are based on the value of the land as well as the buildings and other property located on it. Property taxes can have perverse effects, as can be seen in cities around the world where abandoned buildings are left to deteriorate by landlords in order to minimize their tax bills while they speculate on a future purchase offer. Valuable land is left unused, an eyesore to the community, when it could be recycled into some other industrial or residential use. 

By contrast, a land value rate is a portion of the value of the land alone, and disregards the value of buildings, personal property or other improvements to real estate. The value of the land is determined by demand, supported by factors such as amenities and location in cities, fertility in rural areas, quality of ore bodies in mineral fields, etc. 

A land value rate is fundamentally a demand by the State for rent to be paid by landholders which represents value being given to them. In this way it’s not really a tax, and so has none of the distorting effects of taxes on labour or capital. 

land-value-building-vanuatu

It can even be said it has an incentive effect on landholders to put the land to best use. Whether they conduct business or farming activities, use the land for their homes, or let someone else use it for a fee, they have to pay the same land value rate to the State. If they don’t do anything, or withdraw the land from production, they still are left with the obligation of paying the rate – or letting someone more motivated use or hold the land. 

Barring tectonic activity, land stays put. As opposed to labour and capital, land is unique in that it cannot be hidden, taken away, or left to rust away. The landholder can effectively do nothing to avoid a land value rate, which makes it uniquely immune to shifting, avoidance or evasion. 
If the landholder fails to pay the rate, the land can be put up for sale to discharge the outstanding land value rate  (the purchaser will pay the debt to get the property transferred). If he pretends that he doesn’t hold the land, the State can simply claim it as vacant and transfer it to another landholder willing to pay for it and to pay the land value rate. Either way, the land value rate gets collected in full.

Tax isn’t everything

When a government imposes a land value rate, what it is really doing is reasserting its sovereign rights over its territory. It is demanding that merchants, manufacturers, miners, plantation owners and others who use its lands or live on them, and are given by the State the right to use them to the exclusion of their fellow citizens, should pay for the privilege.

Many societies have functioned on this model, with the sovereign or the State relying on these non-tax revenues to meet the public expenses. In feudal England, Lords were assigned land in exchange for paying the costs of running the kingdom; the phrase “real estate” originally seems to have come from “royal estate”. 

More recently, the fast-developing economies of the Middle East have collected land rents in the form of oil royalties and have been able to minimise reliance on income taxes. If the royalties on just one natural resource (oil alone) can fund a government, why cannot governments be funded from all the land rents of their sovereign territory? 

A “no public revenue” society is impossible.  Governments need money to provide the essential public services and infrastructure needed by a civilised community. Where these essential public services do not exist and there is, for example, no law and order, wages and living standards collapse along with land values. By contrast, a “no tax revenue” society is not only possible but highly desirable. 
A State can fund its essential public services and infrastructure from the rents of the lands which are made more productive by those essential expenditures, in a virtuous circle of value addition. Such a State has a great advantage in terms of economic development over other countries where labour and capital are taxed. A “no tax revenue” society is achievable because all useful public expenditures and the benefits therefrom are reflected in rising productivity of land, labour and capital and thereby ultimately reflected in land rents and land values.

Benefits for all Ni-Vanuatu

A land value rate would have benefits for all members of the Vanuatu community, by providing both an incentive for production and a social safety net. 

Instead of being locked up forever in the hands of a few individuals and their descendants, the natural resource wealth of the Republic would be held by those willing to put it to good use. They would be constantly nudged by the obligation to pay a fair charge for the use of land, based on its value, thus encouraged to use it, or sell it to someone else who is willing to do so.

However, the rate would only apply to alienated or commercially used lands, such as urban land or commercial plantations, and would spare communal and customary lands which are available to everyone for common use. Many Ni-Vanuatu engage in subsistence fishing or agriculture, and communal land tenure ensures that every member of the community can always provide for himself and not become a charge upon the State. A revenue system should not force people off their lands into urban slums (see Port Moresby for a sad example). Only the exclusive users of lands that are alienated away from communal use would be asked to make a contribution to the common treasury in return for their landholding rights.

Not only is the implementation of a land value rate compatible with the Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu, it would meet all “guiding principles” set out in the 2017 Revenue Review and in the Terms of Reference for the 2020 Revenue Governance Committee:

  • Equity and fairness
  • Certainty
  • Convenience of Payment
  • Economy of Collection 
  • Simplicity
  • Neutrality
  • Economic Growth and Efficiency
  • Transparency and Visibility
  • Minimum Tax Gap
  • Appropriate Government Revenues

Easy to implement

A land value rate is much easier to collect than taxes. The starting point is to build a registry of all land parcels, then to find and regularly update their individual values, ignoring all structures or other human improvements. Real estate sales provide good benchmark values which can be used to extrapolate per square metre valuations. It is also possible to allow landholders to self-assess their land values but on condition that they can be bought out by the State at their own declared valuations with compensation for any improvements as determined by a Court of arbitration.

Once a national land registry and valuation system has been established, each level of government and public utility authority can be assigned its own level of land rate for its own district and for its needed revenues. Thus, a local road or electricity board in an area can set a rate to cover the cost of any required loans for building a new road and get the landholders to contribute through the same revenue collection agency as the national government. 

Each provincial or local authority can have its own autonomy in raising and spending its own money but, by doing it on a common base through a common authority, so that people are not subjected to multiple encounters with tax gatherers.  In a country such as Vanuatu, economy and simplicity in reducing the number of civil servants required for tax collection is highly desirable.  It is far better for a country to collect public revenue from one source competently and efficiently than to try to import a multitude of oppressive and ill-administered income or business taxes based on the uninspiring examples of so-called developed countries.

Reaffirming Vanuatu’s sovereignty

The idea of a tax land rate in Vanuatu comes at an auspicious time. The EU and the OECD have been increasingly pressuring Vanuatu to enforce onerous regulatory requirements and to adopt taxation policies inspired by their own. Their demands are pushing Vanuatu to inflict economic losses on itself in the hope that business activity will be driven away from Vanuatu back to the EU. Whether it will is uncertain, but one thing is certain: the EU will not compensate Vanuatu for the losses.

To be independent means being financially self-sufficient and not reliant on grants or subsidies from other countries. Vanuatu can achieve great prosperity by having a simple, robust revenue system which does not impede but rather propels business, one that can be self-funding by paying for the infrastructure and services which then add value to its lands. 

Aid from foreign governments often comes with strings attached, whether stated or implicit. Advanced economies will have much less leeway to try and dictate Vanuatu policy if the nation doesn’t need their generosity anymore. OECD domestic political problems should not be the problems of other countries and economic advice should not be driven by political considerations. 

As demonstrated since the dawn of economics, everyone in Vanuatu will have more equal access to opportunities and to the use of natural resources if the nation solely collects revenue from the land. For a country that has been sovereign for 40 years, it would be an even more decisive step towards greater economic strength and independence.

land-value-island-Vanuatu-40-independence-ajc

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The blockchain tipping point is here. Can we afford to miss out?


“As blockchain decentralizes financial activities, governments will continue striving to understand and regulate the technology. And those that do so effectively will have an opportunity to attract global investment and become frontrunners in a blockchain economy.”

“Blockchain and the future of finance”, KPMG, 2019
Blockchain - AJC Vanuatu

Just a few years ago, the word blockchain was more likely to conjure up associations with fringe tech than serious business. It was first deployed by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, whose abstract nature and volatility inspired widely divergent opinion in the financial community, from evangelic worship to blanket rejection. Cryptocurrencies, however, are just one digital asset that can be exchanged using blockchain. And the technology itself is gaining increased traction in mainstream business communities around the world — but not in Vanuatu. Perhaps it’s best to start with a bit of background.

Blockchain is here to stay

Deloitte’s 2020 Global Blockchain Survey reveals that the technology has passed a tipping point and is now “solidly entrenched in the strategic thinking of organizations across industries, sectors, and applications. (…) Leaders no longer consider the technology ground-breaking and merely promising—they now see it as integral to organizational innovation. This year, the C-suite is putting money and resources behind blockchain as a strategic solution in more meaningful and tangible ways”.

Sharing the truth

Blockchain, also known as Decentralized Ledger Technology (DLT), is a digital ledger system where entries are related chronologically and collectively managed by a network of computers. Any participant in the network with the proper authorization can view the entire ledger without relying on an intermediary or any one authority; and data cannot be changed without the approval of other participants. As a result, each and every authorized party in the network has access to a single, shared truth, which fosters confidence in transacting across multiple sites or geographies.

Where there’s truth, there’s trust

The key element behind blockchain’s broad appeal is its ability to inspire confidence in the security of any trade of digital assets — and not just for cryptocurrencies but for anything represented in digital form that has intrinsic or acquired value. These can be digital representations of land, commodities or fiat currency; tokenized debt or equity; or financial instruments or derivatives, with dozens more possibilities on the horizon. The potential is huge in such areas as title documents, patient data, intellectual property and product traceability.

Where there’s trust, trade inevitably follows

In the financial world, we’re already seeing a significant adoption of blockchain. For instance, a group of large banks including Citi, Standard Chartered, HSBC, BNP Paribas and ING are using Contour‘s DLT platform to shrink processing time for trade letters of credit from 5 to 10 days to less than 24 hours.

Global financial messenger SWIFT is talking about deploying DLT-based services for its 11,000+ members. SWIFT cites five benefits: trust in a disseminated system, efficiency in sharing information, complete traceability of transactions, simplified reconciliation, and high resiliency. However, it also notes opportunities for improvement in data controls, standardization, identity management and cybersecurity, among others. 

Other large organizations currently share the same mix of enthusiasm and reservations. But there’s no reason concerns can’t be addressed by technological improvements and regulatory solutions. And that’s already happening.

Building an international regulatory framework

In a Guidance document issued in 2019, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) clarified how its rules regarding Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (ML/TF) should apply to “virtual asset service providers”. They included recommendations for monitoring, licensing, customer due diligence, recordkeeping and suspicious transaction reporting. “While virtual asset activities may serve as another mechanism for the illegal transfer of value or funds, countries should not necessarily categorize [them] as inherently high ML/TF risks”, the Guidance document read.

As the main standard-setting body in the fight against financial crime, not only has the FATF never advocated for prohibition of any DLT technology, but it has issued clear guidance on what national jurisdictions could do to address potential risk.

In Vanuatu, plenty of prudence but little progress

As all this suggests, we’re at a tipping point and it’s clearly a matter of time before blockchain gets broad traction around the world. Indeed, jurisdictions that resist the trend may risk their future viability as financial centres.

Vanuatu has not evolved on this issue for some time now. In the fall of 2017, the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu (RBV) “strongly advised” against using cryptocurrencies and deemed them “illegal” in Vanuatu under the RBV act. The Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit (VFIU) echoed that statement, adding that a regulatory framework needed to be put in place before the nation embraced digital currency transactions. Under the advice of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Finance instructed the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) to suspend the granting of Financial Dealer Licenses for blockchain and cryptocurrency dealing and appointed a task force with representatives from the RBC, VFSC and other specialists in the field to work on a “proper legal framework”. 

Almost two years in, we’ve seen negligible progress on this front.

Others are taking the lead

In the meantime, other jurisdictions have charted new territory in innovative regulatory frameworks that seek to ensure proper oversight and control of the trade in digital assets. Over the past three years alone: 

2017

  • Gibraltar introduces the Distributed Ledger Technology Regulatory Framework, placing cryptocurrencies under the supervision of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. Gibraltar now bills itself as the first regulator to do so

2018

  • The European Commission includes virtual asset providers in its Fifth Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Directive, making them “obliged entities” under Anti-ML/TF regulations. All countries in the European Economic Area fall under this directive, which allows for these types of businesses to operate while properly managing risk.
  • Thailand passes the Digital Asset Decree of 2018, establishing the necessary requirements for a business to offer or provide operations for digital assets. The Decree covers cryptocurrencies as well as digital tokens and is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Three types of licenses are available for Digital Asset Exchange, Digital Asset Brokers, and Digital Asset Dealers.

2019 

  • Singapore passes the Payment Services Act, expanding the regulatory scope of the Monetary Authority to include the offer or issue of digital tokens falling within the definition of “securities”.
  • Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission advises operators that digital tokens are considered securities, and any person who markets and distributes them to Hong Kong investors is required to be licensed or registered for Type 1 regulated activity (Dealing in securities) under the Securities & Futures Ordinance (SFO).

2020

  • Vanuatu has yet to report any progress.

The time to act is now

As shown above, momentum is building and Vanuatu cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. What’s more, online trading is one of the few sectors where Vanuatu can still grow its services economy, foreign currency inflows, and overall GDP, especially as Covid-19 has gutted our tourism sector for the foreseeable future. 

We all know that for every new business that sets up in Vanuatu, countless jobs are created and sustained through demand for professional services such as accountants, lawyers, IT and real estate. All of which further stimulates the circulation of money.

But why look overseas for examples of DLT’s potential benefits? Last year, Oxfam’s pilot program used cryptocurrency for disaster relief in two Efate villages. So once again, DLT or blockchain is much more than cryptocurrencies. It can make processes more efficient and secure in many areas of society, from healthcare to environment, transport to education.

How to address Anti-ML/TF regulation concerns

There’s certainly a lot of media hype surrounding blockchain, and much of it should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. But as Deloitte’s 2020 Blockchain Survey suggests (see above), the growing interest in DLT from businesses around the world is real. What’s more, it could translate into market share for Vanuatu. The trend in jurisdictions around the world are clear indicators that regulating blockchain, including cryptocurrencies dealing, is in our national economic interest.

Some, like Malta, have issued convoluted state-of-the-art regulations that have notably failed to  attract much investment. But most simply adjusted their current legal systems, especially their Anti-ML/TF regulations, to clarify the status of blockchain services, with an emphasis on the registration and monitoring of digital asset service providers.

Vanuatu’s legislation can be amended to ensure such businesses conduct activities in accordance with our Anti-ML/TF objectives and subject to the same oversight as all other “reporting entities” under the legislation. And it could even be done with advice from FATF and the EU to ensure stronger alignment.

Getting our feet wet

There are low-risk and cost-effective ways for Vanuatu to make inroads in DLT, such as restricting the trade of digital assets to FDL platforms. This would mitigate risk while providing a sandbox for the Vanuatu fintech industry to develop and innovate, giving our authorities time to adapt current regulations for the coming “token economy”. 

Whatever avenue we choose, it’s fair to say that maintaining a moratorium on cryptocurrencies and similar assets is not sustainable — not when these technologies are going mainstream worldwide. It’s time for Vanuatu to look at blockchain from a fresh perspective. Perhaps it’s even time not just to get our feet wet but to actually take the plunge. Our future financial health may hang in the balance.

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The case for digitizing the Vatu


Oxfam’s Unblocked Cash project is just the beginning. Let’s take the Vatu to the digital level.

Blockchain-based digital money has been around for about a decade but, due to the sheer volatility of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, it’s still often viewed as an obscure geek hobby, or at best some form of online gambling. 

But all blockchain currencies are not created equal. “Stablecoins”, for example, have been created specifically to address issues of volatility and are garnering interest around the world for their potential benefits in replacing or complementing physical money. Other forms of blockchain tokens are reaching outside the boardrooms of tech start-ups and demonstrating their real-life potential for mainstream use, without the risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

No need look further than our own shores for proof. Starting in October this year, residents of Sanma affected by Cyclone Harold can use digital tokens to buy relief goods through Oxfam’s Unblocked Cash project, a partnership with the Vanuatu Business Resilience Council, Australian fintech Sempo and a consortium of 12 local and international NGO and private sector partners.

Blockchain - Vatu - AJC Vanuatu
Photo : Keith Parsons/OxfamAUS – From the article: Turning your emergency donation into instant aid with Blockchain

Ready money

Instead of donations in cash, which in the past have proven expensive and cumbersome, aid recipients are provided with an NFC card topped up with digital tokens. Local shopkeepers are issued a mobile phone with an app to process payments. All tokens loaded into the blockchain by Oxfam are collaterized by actual Vatus deposited at the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu. All transactions are traced in a digital ledger, making it easy to pay back vendors quickly without the need for reconciliation. Every week they receive actual Vatus while the corresponding digital tokens are destroyed. In this way the balance of digital tokens remains the same as that of the collaterized account, keeping the blockchain in sync with the real world.

The Unblocked Cash project, which was piloted last year in the Pango and Melee Mat communities in Efate, clearly sped up relief delivery while reducing costs and ensuring full transparency over transactions. It’s been such a success that it was awarded 1M euros from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 prize and Oxfam is now planning to replicate it across the Pacific and beyond.

Digital changes everything

This is actually the second significant instance of digital money being used effectively in Vanuatu.  The first was Vodafone’s M-VATU mobile payment system. These deployments may have targeted two specific sets of users (families in need, Vodafone subscribers) for limited use, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see the possible benefits of bringing the technology to all individuals and corporations in Vanuatu for everyday use.

Digital money is a very practical solution to a real Ni-Vanuatu problem. Our country suffers from a highly fragmented domestic payments network which is hugely costly and inefficient and weighs down our economic growth. Having Vatus in electronic form would make everyday transactions easier for everyone wherever they are located. 

With a digital Vatu (a D-VUV? Datu?), there’s no need for bank accounts: the money would live in the blockchain and change hands through a simple smart phone app. People who are less tech savvy or lack an Internet connection could use SMS commands on their push-button phone, or top up the same type of NFC cards used in the Unblocked Cash project. The D-VUV would be easy to use, safer than carrying physical money, and more economical for both buyers and sellers than existing electronic solutions such as point-of-sale systems or wire transfers.

On a socio-economic level, it would broaden financial inclusion to the farthest reaches of our 83 islands, including better access to lending, which would empower consumers and small businesses and contribute to GDP growth. It would ensure economic resilience in the face of natural disasters and public health crises. It would help the government better monitor revenue collection and public expenses, as well as AML/CTF compliance from everyone. It would facilitate e-commerce and digital innovation, and propel our nation onto the front lines of the digital age.

Baby steps

Many other countries have come to similar realisations and are currently exploring options to extend their fiat currency to the virtual realm. 

In a survey of 66 central banks in both advanced and emerging economies last winter, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) found that 80% of respondents were currently looking at the possibilities of a blockchain-based Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), for either wholesale or mainstream use. Some 40% of central banks had progressed from conceptual research to experiments, and another 10% had developed pilot projects.

Some are leading the way. The Bahamas’ “Project Sand Dollar” is a pilot for a general purpose CBDC where the holder would have a direct claim on the central bank, legally equivalent to an account. A key benefit would be to promote financial inclusion over the Caribbean nation’s 700 islands, cays and inlets, which traditional institutions cannot maintain adequate service.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is also running a pilot project for a token-based CBDC in its currency union comprising the island economies of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and Montserrat. Motivations driving the pilot project include payment efficiencies, financial inclusion and the promotion of innovation and inclusive business growth.

Sweden’s Riksbank is also conducting a similar pilot of an “e-krona”, citing a sharp decrease in cash usage in recent years. The Riksbank also takes part in a research group along with the BIS, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank to share members’ experiences and assess the potential cases for CBDC in their jurisdictions.
Meanwhile in China, the government announced in 2019 that it would launch a People’s Bank of China digital currency, starting with a pilot project at the end of 2020. The country’s 1.4 billion inhabitants would make it the world’s leading CBDC.

Central banks have a role to play

At the moment no CBDC has yet been implemented on a national scale, and standards and best practices for such a roll-out have yet to be defined. But these initiatives will eventually lead to public alternatives to the many private stablecoins currently in existence or in development, such as Facebook’s Libra project. 

A speech in May by Yves Mersch, member of the executive board of the European Central Bank, clearly articulated the need for central banks to get in on the blockchain money game. “One implication of financial technological innovation could be an increasingly cashless economy in which people may no longer be able to hold risk-free central bank money”, said Mersch. “Reliable access to money would then hinge on the stability and efficiency of private retail infrastructures. And trust in money itself would rely on trust in the intermediaries that issue private money. This is one reason why central banks keep fully up to speed on financial technological developments.” 

Not only can CBDCs help central banks keep their fiat currency relevant and competitive in a digitized world, they’re better suited to regulatory oversight and consumer protection than privately issued coins.
As noted in a recent report by the European Central Bank (which cited Facebook’s Libra as an example), “to reap their potential benefits without undermining financial stability, we must ensure that stablecoin arrangements do not operate in a regulatory vacuum.” The position is echoed in an IMF analysis: “large technology firms with enormous global user bases offer a ready-made network over which new payment services can quickly spread. Risks abound, however—so policymakers must create an environment that maximizes benefits and minimizes risks.” 

Stability meets initiative

The challenge of course is for central banks to develop the necessary know-how. These venerable institutions are typically not equipped to handle technology selection, app development, brand management, not to mention customer interaction.


One solution floated by the IMF is a “synthetic CBDC” or “sCBDC” where private providers are the ones issuing blockchain tokens on condition that these are fully backed by central bank reserves. The People’s Bank of China for example requires giant digital money providers AliPay and WeChat Pay to do precisely that. Of course, private issuers must satisfy a number of requirements related to AML/CTF and data protection among others. In essence the sCBDC is a public-private partnership where central banks focus on their core function –ensuring trust and efficiency– while private providers are placed under appropriate oversight where they can focus on what they do best: innovate and interact with customers.

Why not here ?

Following that idea, the Vanuatu Reserve Bank could work with the private sector to build a digital money system while underpinning the stability and trust needed for it to work.

The mechanics are proven. One approach would see 100 actual Vatus held in a trust account at the Reserve Bank for every 100 D-VUV issued as digital tokens. Every time a D-VUV is minted on the blockchain, a Vatu is deposited in the trust account; and every time a D-VUV is “exchanged” for an actual Vatu, it’s automatically removed from the blockchain. This is exactly what the Unblocked Cash project is doing, except on a national scale and under control of the Reserve Bank to ensure regulatory oversight. 

Vanuatu should build directly on Oxfam’s initiative, starting by inviting them and their partners to consult on the development of the D-VUV. They have already demonstrated their agility in deploying digital payments in the most difficult environments; they certainly have the competency to make them work in everyday life. And while any hesitancy about the wholesale adoption of a digital currency is understandable, a cyclone has already shown us which way the wind is blowing.

Blockchain - Vatu - AJC Vanuatu

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Beyond FDI: Seizing the telework opportunity


Abstract

  • COVID19 has accelerated the rise of telework; many employers will keep remote work arrangements past the pandemic.
  • More and more “knowledge workers” from developed countries will become digital nomads, staying for long periods in warmer, more attractive locales provided they have good wi-fi.
  • Most countries don’t have a specific visa for teleworkers; these people  have to resort to renewable tourism visas or sketchy workarounds.
  • Bermuda, Barbados, Estonia and Georgia recently introduced visas for digital nomads to make up for tourism revenue lost to COVID19.
  • Vanuatu is an attractive, safe, COVID-free destination for teleworkers but doesn’t offer adequate visas.
  • Teleworkers would be a net profit centre for Vanuatu, spending foreign-earned money in local businesses just like tourists.
  • Their higher-than-average incomes would stimulate investment in Vanuatu real estate, transportation and other goods and services.
  • Their presence in our community would give our youth the opportunity to discover advanced skills and technologies, inspiring them to become knowledge workers too.
  • They could coach Ni-Vanuatu knowledge workers and entrepreneurs, mentoring them for success.
  • We can build a telework-friendly environment right by adopting three simple measures:
    • Allow digital workers access to Permanent Residency Visas.
    • Create a new short-term Business Visa on arrival.
    • Allow International Companies to get Business Licenses exclusively for export.
  • Once these measures are implemented we can begin marketing Vanuatu to teleworkers,  diversifying our revenue, and strengthening our economy for the long term.
Seizing the telework opportunity - AJC Vanuatu

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Beyond FDI: Seizing the telework opportunity


The coronavirus has forced countless people around the world into full-time telework. But, for many knowledge workers who don’t need face-to-face interaction, telework has become a choice whose popularity has been growing by leaps and bounds. And a number of them don’t actually stay home – they move across time zones, looking for nicer climates in low-cost locales, settling for months on end wherever their hearts desire and Wi-Fi allows. 

These location-independent workers, also called digital nomads, are roaming with their laptops  from Bangkok to Lisbon, Ubud to Mexico City, Taipei to Belgrade. Their criteria for where to settle down are many: cost of living, safety, weather, local food, etc.  The one thing that doesn’t influence their choice is the location of their employer or, in the case of freelancers, their clients. As long as they can get online, they’re good to go. 

It’s hard to say how many digital nomads there are out there. In the US, the annual State of Independence study by MBO Partners puts the figure at 7.3 million people in 2019, rising year after year. Many belong to the tech or creative industries, such as writers, programmers, designers and e-marketers. But anyone who doesn’t need a physical presence to do their work is a candidate for this lifestyle. And the trend is expected to grow.

A catalyst for telework

With Covid-19 forcing employers around the world to keep employees home as much as possible, telework has never been so widespread. While this is assumed to be temporary, many employers from developed countries who had previously been slow to adopt telecommuting have finally made the investment in technology and the switch in management practices necessary to operate a “tele-workforce”. And in those industries where telework is possible, “telecommuting will likely continue long after the pandemic”, notes a report from the Brookings Institution (it also notes that teleworkers tend to be higher earners).

Large corporations in tech and finance have already announced that some of their employees can keep working from home past the current crisis, either full- or part-time. This will allow them to cut costs on expensive office space, while workers can locate further away from expensive urban cores. Even in notoriously traditional Japan, Fujitsu which will halve its office space and let employees work from wherever they want. 

Another trend fuelling telework is the tightening of immigration rules in some countries where even skilled workers from developing countries have a hard time getting visas. In Post-Brexit UK for example, the erection of a frontier with Europe and the introduction of a points-based immigration system will force companies to hire foreigners remotely. Already 18% of the 3 million jobs in the UK tech sector are held by foreigners, without the need for them to set foot in the country.

Surely a good portion of these new hordes of remote workers will elect to travel to other places while on the job. If telework is on the rise, then digital nomadism is sure to follow.

Working in the grey

In many countries, digital nomads’ only obstacle – besides spotty Wi-Fi – is their immigration status. Even those with a “powerful” passport often fall between categories. They’re not tourists since they’re staying; they’re not workers since their output is not consumed locally; they’re not investors since they’re not injecting capital.

Many resort to sketchy workarounds and bureaucratic sleight of hand in order to keep working. Digital nomads in Thailand and Vietnam, for instance, are officially tourists and need to do a visa run every few months to keep their status. Some apply for a class to qualify as students; some pay a company to endorse them for a work visa without there ever being an actual job; others create a company whose sole function is to gain them accreditation as investors. In most cases, their immigration status is hardly conducive to the realities of telework, falls in a legal grey area at the mercy of the authorities, and costs them a lot of time and money.
Until recently, only a handful of immigration regimes have explicitly welcomed digital nomads, such as Germany’s Freelance “Freiberufler” Visa (up to 3 years), the Czech Republic’s Long Term Business Visa (1 year), Spain’s Self-Employment Work Visa (1 year), or Mexico’s Temporary Resident Visa (up to 4 years).

First mover advantage

During the pandemic, the sharp rise of telework has coincided with another trend: the sudden fall of international tourism. And this summer, some countries which depend heavily on the latter have been pivoting to better cater to the former, putting themselves in an advantageous position to profit from these virtually no-cost sources of foreign exchange.

  • Since August 1, Bermuda has offered the Work from Bermuda Certificate program, adapted from an existing residency program. The online application involves an upfront cost of $263 per person, with requirements including health insurance and proof of employment or enrollment in higher education, ensuring that a nomad has sufficient health insurance, or can afford to pay for a local care package. “No need to be trapped in your apartment in a densely populated city with the accompanying restrictions and high risk of infection; come spend the year with us working or coding on the water”, Premier of Bermuda E. David Burt told digital nomads in a statement. The country has a stringent coronavirus testing regime and has successfully managed the pandemic so far. 
  • Since July 12, the Barbados Welcome Stamp grants a year-long span for visitors to work remotely on the island. Applicants must pay either £1,590 (US$2000) per person, or £2,385 (US$3000) per family, prove earnings of at least £39,760 (US$50,000) per year, and have health insurance. There’s also some national security vetting. “We recognize more people are working remotely, sometimes in very stressful conditions, with little option for vacation. Our new [visa] allows you to relocate and work from one of the world’s most beloved tourism destinations”, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said in a statement.
  • As of August 1, Estonia offers a Digital Nomad Visa that lets location-independent workers live in Estonia and legally work for their employer or their own company registered abroad. The Baltic country plans to issue around 2000 such visas annually to applicants who need to prove they can telework sufficiently to earn the monthly income threshold for living there, currently set at 3,504 euros, and have valid health insurance. The application fee only is 100 euros. All entrants are subject to a 14-day isolation period to help the country maintain its low Covid-19 infection rate. 
  • Starting September, Georgia will issue new remote worker visas for people to live and work there for up to one year. The online application is expected to ask for proof of employment and valid insurance, and all applicants must submit to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival – the country still shows a relatively low Covid-19 infection rate.

Fresh foreign income for Vanuatu

Until now Vanuatu has been very low on the list of destinations for global digital nomads (this website ranks Port Vila 1,170th with a score of 2.89/5 according to 199 reviews). The remoteness of the country is one explanation, as are its lagging Internet connectivity (until recently) and its lack of adequate visas. 

But in the age of Covid-19, Vanuatu has a better shot at attracting the teleworking crowd. Our country is one of the few remaining places on Earth that have been spared by the pandemic, an attractive quality for remote workers in pandemic-embattled countries close to us like Australia. Those coming from further away, in Europe or East Asia, can also be tempted as other safe options are few and far between, especially if they’re looking for a tropical climate as winter encroaches in their hemisphere.

As for the Internet, connectivity has been greatly improved in recent years, putting Vanuatu on par with other tropical destinations. Our bandwidth in populated areas is high enough to perform most typical digital nomad jobs.

The issue of long-term visas remains an obstacle. As of today, the only persons eligible for a Residence Visa are:

  1. Partners or children of Vanuatu citizens,
  2. Employees with a local work contract,
  3. Key investors in a local company that employs citizens,
  4. Self-funded residents or Vanuatu land lessee, who are forbidden to work.

The rise of digital nomads coupled with the pandemic gives us a unique chance to develop this new source of foreign currency. As a country dependent on foreign income, we should seize this opportunity with the same level of dedication which for decades we’ve put into attracting FDI.

Bringing the knowledge economy to our shores

Welcoming teleworkers can have a positive and immediate impact on the demand side, as these new arrivals consume local goods and services, thus contributing to the health of Vanuatu businesses. Many are highly skilled and educated, high income earners who make big expenditures. They are not taking job opportunities away from locals but tend to import their work with them, along with a substantial amount of much-needed foreign cash for our economy.

As members of the knowledge economy, teleworkers bring new kinds of expertise and innovation skills with them. Software engineers. Chief Technology Officers. Data Scientists. These and many other specialists are currently lacking in Vanuatu. New people skilled in these areas can inspire our youth, showing how such careers are viable, realistic options for the future, and helping build local capacity and skills. There are no borders to the new economy. Imagine, in a few years we could see FDI funding a Ni-Vanuatu data architect’s homegrown start-up right here.

We are currently in the unique and enviable position of being able to offer digital nomads the beautiful, safe, COVID-free environment they’re looking for. The assets and attributes that made Vanuatu a coveted tourism destination can also help us attract some of the best and brightest in the knowledge economy.

Here are some ways we can do so.

Three ideas on how to make our move right now


Proposition 1: Open the Permanent Residency Visa to Digital Workers (freelance or employee)

Characteristics: 

  • 1 year Residency Visa
  • renewable every year
  • same price as normal residency visa: 57,600 Vatu per year

Main requirements: 

  • One of the following proofs of sufficient funds:
    • a permanent job overseas that pays over 4 million Vatu per year;
    • income of over 4 million Vatu during the past year as a freelancer or an employee;
    • Liquid assets of more than 4 million Vatu.
  • Proof of Heath Insurance coverage

Target Market: 

  • Remote employees of foreign-based businesses
  • Freelancers who typically work online

People with this type of Visa would be akin to long-term tourists. If we attract 1,000 of them for 52 weeks, they’ll have the same impact on the economy as 52,000 tourists (1,000 x 52 weeks). 

In order to unlock even more positive value from their stay, we could encourage them to register as employers at the VNPF, and to hire local domestic help as well as digital workers to help them sell their services online.

Proposition 2: Create a new Business Visa on Arrival

Characteristics: 

  • 1-month Visa
  • Free on arrival 

Target Market: 

  • Directors of International Companies
  • People that spend a short time in Vanuatu doing business (e.g., visiting clients, conference attendants, etc.)

This type of “corporate-tourist” visa would encourage people to come to Vanuatu to do short-term business. For example, it could be used by participants in annual corporate board meetings held by international companies.

Proposition 3: Create a new Business License category called “International Company Export” 

Characteristics: 

  • Strictly for exports (product or services), no local sales/revenue
  • Small nominal license fee, for ex. 20,000 Vatu
  • No VIPA approval needed

Target Market:

  • International Companies (IC) registered with the VFSC who want to export products and services from Vanuatu

We should allow and encourage International Companies (IC) to operate from Vanuatu, with facilities and employees physically located here. At the moment they need to obtain approval from VIPA to do so, and they get rejected because they don’t fit into any existing categories. 

International Companies that set up shop in Vanuatu to operate an export business should be exempt from VIPA approval because they are not investing to operate a business in Vanuatu (i.e. selling to Vanuatu customers), they are strictly investing to export from Vanuatu.

International Company Export licensees would be allowed to hire local employees, register at the VNPF, import skilled workers, and follow other rules like any local company. But they would be forbidden to offer their products or services in Vanuatu. This way they wouldn’t compete with any local business operating here. 

Not only would these companies create job opportunities for Ni-Vanuatu, they would be also able to hire Digital Visa holders, helping attract even more to our shores. They could also hold their annual Board meetings here by getting a Business Visa for their directors. You can see how our three propositions could work in concert to bolster Vanuatu’s place in the knowledge economy.

Attracting the best and the brightest

Once we agree on the terms for attracting teleworkers, the next challenge will be to market Vanuatu to them in a compelling way. Right now we have a unique opportunity to attract some of the world’s most highly skilled people and stimulate true wealth creation for our nation. Our development is linked to our capacity to seize that opportunity.

Agriculture and manufacturing are good, but they are only part of a healthy, modern economy. They create low-paying jobs and need to be highly automated and mechanized to become efficient and lucrative.

The knowledge economy is the future, and it’s where we should be heading.

Countries all over the world – rich countries – are competing to attract the highest performers, the best researchers, the smartest brains. They attract them with scholarships; with fully financed research teams and laboratories; with signing bonuses; with fast-track residency and work permits. 

Locking down our labour market to the world is destroying a lot of potential value for Vanuatu and is just making it harder for the private sector to invest and to foster the growth the country so desperately needs. 

These proposed changes are not just about opening up to more foreign income and investment; they’re about propelling Vanuatu into the future by turning a great crisis into a great opportunity.

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Important change on Custom Taxes Numbers

CT (Custom Taxes) Number become TIN (Tax Identification Number)

On January 1, 2020, a new Tax Administration ACT (TAA) entered into force.

As a result of this new law, the CT (Custom Taxes) number becomes the TIN (Tax Identification Number).

This year 2020-2021 is considered by the Inland Revenue Office as a year of transition.

The taxpayers are required to change their receipts or tax invoice to indicate TIN on the document where it must appear to replace CT. The tax administration office gives until the end of the year to comply with this change.

From 1 January 2021, if a taxpayer does not include the word TIN on their receipts or invoices, they could be penalised by the Inland Revenue Office.

CT (Custom Taxes)  Number become TIN (Tax Identification Number)

The Tax Administration ACT (TAA) entered into force on January 1, 2020. This law introduces a series of new measures, of which three major changes can be identified:

  • Penalties and interest on late payments AND late returns.
  • An obligation for companies to use tax identification numbers (TIN).
  • Record keeping requirements for businesses.

For more information on the TAA, you can consult the following Daily Post article: Gov’t To Consult On New Tax Law.

Or download the Tax Administration ACT (TAA)


If you have any questions about the changes to be made or the TAA, contact us:


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How to create a Charitable Association in Vanuatu

Charitable Association in Vanuatu are established for the benefits of the community. Such associations must be set up for “charitable purposes”. These include the following purposes:

  • Religious
  • Educational
  • Cultural
  • Scientific
  • Sports
  • General social welfare or
  • Another non-profit purpose declared by Minister.

In order to obtain the status of a corporate body and thus obtain all the rights and privileges attached to the status of a legal entity. An association must have its committee incorporated by the Vanuatu Financial Service Commission (VFSC).

Incorporating committees provides charities with many of the same benefits enjoyed by companies. In particular, when a committee is incorporated.

The committee may:

  • Hold assets (e.g. equipment or land).
  • Hold and incur liabilities.
  • Enter into contracts (subject to certain restrictions).

Incorporation process for Charitable Association in Vanuatu

Incorporating a charitable Association with the VFSC is a fairly simple and straight forward process. In addition, it can even be done online on the VFSC website. In order to do it, the prescribed form should be used and you must provide the following information:

  • The name of the committee.
  • The names, addresses and occupations of the committee members.
  • The registered office of the committee.
  • The objects of the association.
  • Certified copy of the articles, rules, constitution of association, and a statement of assets and liabilities.

IMPORTANT

A charitable association is considered as a reporting entity by the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit. As such, it should comply with all the requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act of 2018.

In particular, all members of the Association will be required to submit to the VFIU a set of notarised key identification documents.

For more information contact us or the VFIU directly.

Legal obligations for Charitable Associations

Governance

The only requirement pertaining to governance for an association to be incorporated is to have a minimum of six members.

Registered office

A committee incorporated shall have a registered office at which any legal process may be served.

Reporting obligations

Annual reports

A committee must provide to the registrar a report in the prescribed form on the operations of the Committee. The report must be provided within 3 months after the anniversary of the creation of the committee.

An annual report filling fee should be paid upon submission of the annual report.

The annual report outlines the activities and other details of the charitable association over the previous 12 months. It also includes details on whether it had operations only in Vanuatu, or in Vanuatu and other countries. In addition, if it undertook activities in all or any of the following sectors:

  • Religious.
  • Educational.
  • Cultural.
  • Scientific.
  • Sports.
  • General social welfare and community development.
  • Political Party.
  • Financial details, including income and expenses.

On the request of the Registrar, additional documents may be requested justifying the above details.

Reports in case of changes

A committee must give the registrar written notice of a change in any or all of the following within 30 days after the change occurs:

  • The registered office of the committee;
  • the articles, rules or constitution of the association;
  • A key person;
  • The circumstances of a key person that may affect whether he or she meets fit and proper criteria;
  • The rules or policies relating to the source of funds of the committee.

Specific reporting: in case of transfer of lands

A committee incorporated hereunder shall lodge with the Minister not less than 15 days before the transfer, details of any transfer of any interest in land that it intends to make.

Sanctions

The law foresee a number of sanctions in case on non-respects of the provisions and requirements mentioned above.

These sanctions can range from removal of the Association from the register to financial fines.

Fees & Fines

Charitable Association in Vanuatu Fees & Fines

You want to create your Charitable Association in Vanuatu?


More information

For more information about the process, you can download our Charitable Association Vanuatu Brochure.

We are a proud partner of:

If you want to know more about Ratua Foundation you can read our article about the Foundation, here.


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AJC Vanuatu partner of Ratua Foundation

AJC Vanuatu has been a proud partner of the Ratua Foundation for several years now.

We are very attached to the development of our community.

We wish to encourage and promote the initiatives and activities carried out in the country in various fields: humanitarian, culture, sport, education, health, …

AJC Vanuatu partner of Ratua Foundation

About Ratua Foundation

The Ratua Foundation has its headquarters on the island of Ratua, located in the south of the island of Santo. Ratua is a very small private island located between the island of Aore and the island of Malo.

The foundation was created in December 2009 with the aim of improving the education conditions for children in Vanuatu.

Currently, the association is involved in various projects and on broader themes, such as: schools, books, infrastructure, water and electricity networks, etc,…

To know more about the Ratua Foundation:

About AJC Vanuatu

AJC is an advisory and accounting firm established in Vanuatu since 2003. We offer a wide range of company services such as Audit and Accounting services. But also, incorporation of local and offshore companies, corporate secretariat and support to investors seeking to obtain different kinds of licences issued by Vanuatu administration. In addition, we help individual applying for Vanuatu Citizenship under the Development Support Program (DSP).

AJC has a team of fully English/French bilingual lawyers and accountants. They are able to assist you in all the steps of your citizenship application in Vanuatu. We uniquely combine professionals from the legal side to professionals from accounting and finance side. In order to provide our customers relevant advice and useful professional services.

For further information about Charitable Association

You can download our Charitable Association Vanuatu Brochure. You will discover about the process to create a Charitable Association.

Also, you can read our article on: How to create a Charitable Association in Vanuatu.

Or contact us for any requests:


To know more about our sponsorship program, refer to our Sponsorship page.


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3 Steps to apply for a Vanuatu Residence Permit as Self-Funded

If you wish to settle in Vanuatu and you have enough income to support yourself and your dependents, you may apply for a Self-Funded Visa.

We present to you the 3 main steps to apply for a Vanuatu Residence Permit as Self-Funded. The following steps need to be completed:

First step: Opening of a bank account at the National Bank of Vanuatu*

*you must be present in Vanuatu to open an account at National Bank of Vanuatu

National Bank of Vanuatu - Vanuatu Resident Permit as Self-Funded

In order to do that you will need to fill out the attached form: NBV New Account Application Form.pdf

Once the bank account has been opened (which should take around 3 weeks), we fill proceed the application for residency.

Fees:

Opening of a bank account (in local currency): Free of charge.

AJC Fees: 400 US$

Second step: Transfer of immigration bond on the newly bank account

You will need to transfer on your NBV account an amount of funds corresponding to the price of a one-way ticket between Vanuatu and you country of origin.

Third step: Application for residency permit (1, 3, 5, 10 years)

You will need to fill out, signed and return to us the attached form

Fees:

  • Residency status
    • 1 year = 57,600 VATUS (equivalent 530 US$)
    • 3 years = 158,400 VATUS (equivalent 1,500 US$)
    • 5 years = 259,200 VATUS (equivalent 2,500 US$)
    • 10 years = 511,200 VATUS (equivalent 4,800 US$)
  • AJC fees
    • 1 year = 500 US$
    • 3 years = 600 US$
    • 5 years = 700 US$
    • 10 years = 1000 US$

To start the process with us, please fill up the form below:

You will need the following documents :

  • Notarized copy of valid passport
  • Copies of all used pages of passport
  • Certified 2nd ID, it is a proof of your address (driving licence or either Bills (electricity bill / water bill / telephone) or either bank statement)
  • 2 ID photos
  • Marriage certificate if married
  • Original of recent the criminal record

Again, this process should take around 3 weeks.


Ready to start your application process with AJC Vanuatu?


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How to account for COVID-19 in Financial Statements and related notes

These free download documents contain professional information.
Most importantly, they offer solutions on how the COVID-19 crisis should be taken into account. These refer to the financial statements and the notes to these financial statements.

Find more information on Vanuatu and the management of the COVID-19 crisis on the government’s website.


How much does Vanuatu Citizenship Cost

Last update : April 2023

Vanuatu Citizenship Cost and Calculations:

We are an advisory and accounting firm established in Vanuatu since 2003. AJC offer a wide range of company services such as Audit and Accounting services, incorporation of local and offshore companies, corporate secretariat and support to investors seeking to obtain different kinds of licences issued by Vanuatu administration. We also help individual applying for Vanuatu Citizenship under the Development Support Program (DSP). Find below the cost and Calculations of Vanuatu Citizenship:

 

Costs

Due Diligence Fee
Fee per application USD$5,500 AUD$7,500
Application Fees*
Single applicant USD$130,000 AUD$181,000
Married couple USD$150,000 AUD$209,000
Married couple with one child under 18 years old USD$165,000 AUD$230,000
Married couple with two children under 18 years old USD$180,000 AUD$251,000
Other Fees
Citizenship Commission application fee (per application) USD$50 AUD$70
Certificate fee (per person) USD$100 AUD$140
Passport application (per adult) USD$250 AUD$350
Additional Application Fees for larger families
Each additional child < 18 years old USD$10,000 AUD$14,000
Each dependent child of 18 to 25 years old USD$10,000 AUD$14,000
Each dependent parent over 50 years old USD$10,000 AUD$14,000
Optional fees for overseas ceremony**
Air travel and accommodation for 2 people USD$15,000 AUD$21,000

A family application includes two married adults and two children under 18 years old. Additional children, older children, dependent adults over 50 years old require additional fees. 
*Fees are set by law. Contact us for more details.
**Estimate price for a ceremony in Hong Kong & Singapore. Cost will vary depending on your location.

 


Ready to start your application process?

Contact us by filling our online form


 

Calculations

For a single applicant 
Single Applicant USD$130,000 AUD$181,000
Due Diligence Fee USD$5,500 AUD$7,500
Passport application USD$250 AUD$350
Commissioner of Oath USD$300 AUD$420
Applicant fee USD$50 AUD$70
Certificate fee USD$100 AUD$140
Total USD$136,200 AUD$189,480
For a married couple application
Couple applicant USD$150,000 AUD$209,000
Due Diligence Fee USD$5,500 AUD$7,500
Passport application USD$500 AUD$700
Commissioner of Oath USD$300 AUD$420
Applicant fee USD$50 AUD$70
Certificate fee USD$200 AUD$280
Total USD$156,550 AUD$217,970
For a family of two adults and three children (aged < 18yo)
Family application (up to two children) USD$180,000 AUD$251,000
Third Child USD$10,000 AUD$14,000
Due Diligence Fee USD$5,500 AUD$7,500
Passport application USD$710 AUD$1000
Commissioner of Oath USD$300 AUD$420
Applicant fee USD$50 AUD$70
Certificate fee USD$500 AUD$700
Total USD$197,060 AUD$274,690

Not sure how much it would cost for your family?

Contact us by filling our online form

AJC Vanuatu: Trusted Partner

The procedure to apply for citizenship under the DSP requires a designated agent who receive and forward your money and your application to the citizenship commission. In other words, to successfully obtain your Vanuatu citizenship, you fully rely on an unknown agent to manage your application and fund transfer.

At AJC, our experienced multilingual staff can process your application faster than any other service provider. In addition, we make sure you are helped and informed along the way.

EC HOLDINGS, a branch of AJC, is an Approved DSP Agent appointed by the Government, with a vast experience of Citizenship application management.

In order to guarantee you a maximum protection, we manage the money transfer with our locally based trust company which receive the money and transfer it directly to the government. We are the only entity that can guarantee oversight of your money transfer directly to the Vanuatu Government.

As a well established and renowned local business since 2003. We are a trusted partner you can count on.


Ready to start your application process?


More information

For more information about the process and a list our required documents, you can download our Development Support Program (DSP) brochure.

You can also consult our page: Vanuatu Citizenship

or go directly through the government website citizenship section.

Other articles on the same subject


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FAQ about Vanuatu Citizenship

Last update : April 2023

FAQ about Vanuatu Citizenship

As a trusted local partner and through our years of experience,

we have compiled for you a list of FAQ about Vanuatu Citizenship.

Can I keep my current Citizenship and become a Vanuatu Citizen?

Yes, Vanuatu accept double citizenship.

What are the main requirements to become a Vanuatu Citizen?

The main requirements are as follow: The main applicant must demonstrate assets in his or her name of over US$250,000, he/she must be at least 18 years old, he/she must pay the contribution of $130,000 USD (+ extra fees) for a single applicant and have no criminal record.

Other requirements may apply.

Can I submit the application myself?

No, only designated agents can submit an application on your behalf.

Can I fill the application online?

No, but we will review all documents sent by email and confirm they are in order before submitting them to the Citizenship Commission.

How long is the application process?

The total application process may take 8 to 10 weeks upon receipt of all required documents after each step.

Do I need to submit my application in English?

Yes, the Citizenship Commission only accept documents in English. Any required documents will have to be translated into English and the translation being certified.

How many members of my family can be included in my application?

All your direct dependents can be included (for an additional fee), meaning: the main applicant’s parents, the main applicant’s spouse’s parents, any children between 18 and 25 years old and any child (after the first 2 ones which are already included in the family of 4 application fee).

Do I have to go to Vanuatu to apply for citizenship?

No. You can apply simply by contacting us.

However, the final step of the process being the collection/delivery of passport can be done either in Vanuatu (you fly at your own expenses) or overseas (you meet the travelling costs of an AJC Representative to the country of your choice). This extra fee includes air tickets, accommodation and agent fee.

What is a police certificate?

A police certificate is a document stating that you do not have a criminal record. It can be named “Certificate of no criminal record” or “Police clearance report” or other names depending on where you live.

Does Vanuatu Citizenship expire?

No. You and your family will have citizenship for life and it will be passed on to your kids and their kids. However, you will have to renew your passport every 10 years.

How much will it cost to renew my passport in 10 years?

Each individual passport renewal cost about 250 USD (25,000 vatu). You will need to obtain a Vanuatu birth certificate (with the details of your original birth certificate) before renewing your passport. AJC can assist with the procedure for a total fee of US$1,500.

Can I change my name?

No, it is no longer possible to proceed with a change of name after obtaining Vanuatu Citizenship since June 2022.

Are there countries excluded from the program?

Yes. Any citizen of the following countries are excluded from the program :

  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • North Korea
  • Syria
  • Yemen

This country list is subjet to change.

Exemptions: The commission may accept applications from restricted countries if the applicant shows that he or she has not resided in the restricted country for the past 5 years; and provides evidence of permanent residency abroad.


Ready to start your application process?


More information

For more information about the process and a list our required documents, you can download our Development Support Program (DSP) brochure.

You can also consult our page: Vanuatu Citizenship

or go directly through the government website citizenship section.

Other articles on the same subject


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Become a Citizen of Vanuatu

The Development Support Program (DSP) to become a Citizen of Vanuatu

From January 2017, the government of the Republic of Vanuatu launched the Development Support Program (DSP). The aim is to raise funds to support infrastructure and promote economic development in Vanuatu.

The DSP is a new provision enacted by the Vanuatu Government under the Citizenship Act with the powers conferred on the Prime Minister. Applicants can apply for Vanuatu citizenship by contributing to the Vanuatu government of USD 130,000 for a single applicant. The cost can be up to $ 180,000 per application for a family of up to four (4) members.

The citizenship acquired under the DSP program is fully recognised by the Government of Vanuatu and the nationality is regarded as Ni-Vanuatu (Vanuatu citizen).

Those applying for and receiving Vanuatu Citizenship under the DSP have the full right to reside in Vanuatu at all times and the passport is renewable upon expiry. Moreover, Citizenship is hereditary.

The applicant must not have any criminal record. Further, he must be of high standing in his or her community, organisation, society or country.

About Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made of an archipelago of 83 islands. The islands extend over 1,300 kilometers with a Y shape.

Multiple waves of colonisers, each speaking a distinct language, migrated to the Melanesian islands in the millennia preceding European exploration.

This settlement patterns accounts for the complex linguistic diversity found on the archipelago to this day. The British and French settled on the islands in the 19th century and called the newly formed country “New Hebrides”.

In 1906 they agreed to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980. On that date, the new name Vanuatu was adopted.

Population

308,396(September2020estimate). Population Growth rate 2.40%.

Economy

Primarily based on small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for about two thirds of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with an estimated 111,000 visitors in 2015, are other mainstays of the economy.

Australia and New Zealand are the main source of tourists and aid.

A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties and VAT.

Since 2002, the government has stepped up efforts to boost tourism through improved air connections, resort development, and cruise ships facilities.

Agriculture, especially livestock farming is the second target for growth.

The islands offer scuba diving at coral reefs, underwater caverns and wrecks such as the WWII-era troopship SS President Coolidge. Hiking trails ascend active volcanoes such as Mt. Yasur.

Other popular activities include rainforest ecotours, kayaking and deep-sea fishing, plus relaxing at resorts and spas.

Travelling to Vanuatu

You can fly to Port Vila’s Bauerfield International airport (VLI) directly from, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, PNG, New Caledonia and Solomon.

New direct flights to China are coming soon.

Citizen of Vanuatu. Map AJC Vanuatu

Ready to start your application process?


More information

For more information about the process and a list our required documents, you can download our Development Support Program (DSP) brochure.

You can also consult our page: Vanuatu Citizenship

or go directly through the government website citizenship section

Other articles on the same subject


Find us on:


Who can apply for Vanuatu Citizenship

Who can apply for Vanuatu Citizenship

The Development Support Program (DSP) was initiated by the government of Vanuatu and starting in January 2017.

The goal of this program is to raise funds to support infrastructure and promote economic development in Vanuatu.

Who can apply for Vanuatu Citizenship:

  • Any person with no criminal record.
  • Any person who can provide a proof of assets > US$250,000 in his/her name.
  • Any person of integrity
  • Any person aged > 18 years old

Documents required to apply for Vanuatu Citizenship:

Additional documents may be required or requested.

Principal candidate’s required documents

  • Signed Nomination Form
  • Birth certificate / or approved option
  • Medical certificate
  • 1 Color photograph (40mm x 50mm) – JPEG file
  • Asset report confirming assets > US$250,000 in the Candidate’ name
  • Bank reference / letter of Good Standing
  • Employment letter
  • Marriage certificate (for couple or family application only)
  • 2 professional referees to confirm the good character of the Candidate
  • Degree / Diploma where available
  • Proof of current residential address dated less than 3 months (utility bill, bank statement etc.)

Principal candidate’s asset proof (if applicable)

  • Employment certification
  • Bank reference
  • Professional reference
  • Academic certification
  • Others

Required documents for Spouse

  • Signed Nomination Form
  • Birth certificate / or approved option
  • Medical certificate
  • 1 Color photograph (40mm x 50mm) – JPEG file
  • Proof of current residential address dated less than 3 months (utility bill, bank statement etc.)

Required documents for dependent children under 18-year-old

  • Signed Nomination Form
  • 1 Color photograph (40mm x 50mm) – JPEG file
  • Birth certificate
  • Medical certificate

Required documents for dependent resident over 18 years old

  • Signed Nomination Form
  • 1 Color photograph (40mm x 50mm) – JPEG file
  • Birth certificate
  • Medical certificate
  • Degree or Education certificate – if available

Ready to start your application process?


More information

For more information about the process and a list our required documents, you can download our Development Support Program (DSP) brochure.

You can also consult our page: Vanuatu Citizenship

or go directly through the government website citizenship section.

Other articles on the same subject


Find us on:


How to Obtain Vanuatu Citizenship

Last update : April 2023

The process to obtain Vanuatu Citizenship is relatively simple and straight. Once all requirement documents are in our possession, it takes about 8 to 10 weeks to complete the full process.

Please note that the initial fee of US$5,500 (VFIU / due diligence checks fees and AJC admin fee) and 25% of the prescribed fee are non-refundable if the Citizenship Commission declines the application. You are required to submit a proof of the source of funds for due diligence.

Vanuatu Citizenship process

The DSP citizenship application process requires a designated agent. He is responsible for receiving and forwarding your money and your application.

In order to successfully obtain your Vanuatu citizenship, you fully rely on an unknown agent to manage your application and fund transfer. At AJC, our experienced multilingual staff can process your application faster than any other service provider. In addition, we make sure you are helped and informed along the way.

EC HOLDINGS, a branch of AJC, is an Approved DSP Agent appointed by the Government, with a vast experience of Citizenship application management.

In order to guarantee you maximum protection, we manage the money transfer with our locally based trust company. It receives the money and transfers it directly to the government. We are the only entity that can guarantee oversight of your money transfer directly to the government of Vanuatu.

As a well established and renowned local business since 2003. We are a trusted partner you can count on.


Ready to start your application process?

More information

For more information about the process and a list our required documents, you can download our Development Support Program (DSP) brochure.

You can also consult our page: Vanuatu Citizenship

or go directly through the government website citizenship section


Other articles on the same subject


Find us on:


Important Changes to VAT Return Penalties

VAT Return Penalties - AJC Vanuatu

Recent law changes came into effect that will result in significant penalties should you fail to lodge your VAT return on time.

From now on, even if you are due a VAT refund or are lodging a nil VAT return, you will be fined VT30,000 (if an individual) or VT50,000 (if an entity) if you lodge your VAT return late. In addition, for each day that the VAT return remains outstanding, a further VT3,000 (for individuals) and VT5,000 (for entities) will apply.

It is therefore extremely important that your VAT return is lodged by the due date, even if you are lodging a nil return or expecting a VAT refund. If AJC prepares and lodges your VAT return for you, it is imperative that all information and documentation is provided to us well before the due date for lodgement.

The penalties for late payment of VAT have also changed. From now on a 5% late payment penalty will apply, and for each day until payment is made additional interest calculated at the rate of 20%p.a. will also apply.

The above changes will apply to January 2020 VAT returns which are due for lodgement by 27th February.

Should you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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Recent changes to work permits in Vanuatu

As you may have heard; on 30 November 2018, the Parliament adopted a series of amendments to the law governing work permits. The amended law was subsequently published in the official gazette on 15 January. As such, it has now entered into force and is hence fully applicable.

The key amendments which were adopted are as follow:

1. Recruitment of foreign workers

Employees wishing to recruit non-residents will from now on have to submit to the Labour Department a much more detailed file justifying the selection and recruitment of a non-resident candidate.

If AJC is already supporting you with your recruitment and work permits, you do not have to worry about this, as we will adapt our procedures according to the revised law.

If AJC is not supporting you with your work permits, please feel free to contact us to get more information on this service that we are offering.

2. Work permits and VIPA

People holding a VIPA foreign investment approval will no longer be able to work as an employee (with a work permit) in a business different from the one for which they have a VIPA certificate. The opposite is also forbidden, an employee that holds a work permit cannot become a foreign investor unless he has left his foreign employee status to become only an investor with a VIPA.

If you are in this situation, please feel free to contact us so that we can review together the possible alternatives.

3. Cost of work permit

The cost for a work permit will increase from Vt210,000 to Vt330,000.

4. Renewal of work permit

From now on, no work permit will be renewed beyond 4 years.

Please note that from the discussion that we held with the Department of Labour, we understand that the 4 year period commences from January 2019, i.e. at the date the law entered into force, NOT at the date that the first work permit was issued.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

5. Cancellation of work permit:

The Department of Labour will be empowered to cancel a work permit if it considers that the holder of the work permit did not comply with the terms of this work permit (this includes the obligation for all employees to train a local counterpart, prohibition of mistreatment of staff (such as verbal or physical abuse, etc. )

The Department of Labour has decided to tighten its controls over possible abuse by non-resident workers and managers and strictly enforce the work permit cancellation provisions. This gives more flexibility to the Labour office to not renew the work permit of a foreigner that does not strictly follow the Act. 

6. Appeal of decisions by the Department of Labour

In order to contest a decision by the Department of Labour, the appeal will no longer be with the Minister, but with a special committee created by the revised law.

If you are in such case and you need assistance, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

We hope that this email provides some clarification on these recent developments. If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


If you want more information on Work Permits in Vanuatu, please contact us.


Work permits in Vanuatu - AJC Vanuatu

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Changes to the Partnership Act in Vanuatu

Partnership (Amendment) Act n°26 of 2018, as published in the Official Gazette dated January 9 2019, has made some significant changes to the Partnership Act.

In short, partnership is the relation which subsists between persons carrying on a business (ie. every trade, occupation or profession) in common with a view of profit (this definition does not apply to companies or associations which are registered under the Companies Act n°25 of 2012 or any other Act).

You may have, in the course of your business, entered into an agreement, to share the profits of a business, which might characterize a partnership.

Whereas the Partnership Act did not require the registration of partnerships, the Act n°26 now set forth the obligation to register partnerships and to fulfil all annual requirements (renewal, annual report).

According to the information that you may provide, we will be glad to help you determine if some of your businesses can be seen as partnerships.

When appropriate, we can propose to organize your registration and to take in charge your annual obligations.


If you need more information, please contact us.


Changes to the Partnership Act in Vanuatu - AJC Vanuatu

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DFK Promotional Video 2018

Check out DFK Promotional Video 2018.


Leading the financial technological revolution for SMEs in Vanuatu

Business Link Pacific (BLP) has partnered with AJC Chartered Professional Accountants & Business Advisors to offer SMEs affordable service for the setup, migration and training component of Xero accounting software.

Damien Mullins, Senior Manager Accounting and Audit at AJC explains how SMEs in Vanuatu can benefit from migrating to cloud-based accounting.  

Learn more on Business Link Pacific Blog :

http://businesslinkpacific.com/leading-financial-technological-revolution-smes-vanuatu/?fbclid=IwAR3gRpYqReENJFwNV_e9Sbla6jIMXCMAfsUXHmJG2r07xnpVPuiZQqjrHjY


AJC in partnership with BLP is offering XERO for FREE

This offer is no longer available since June 2019. For any inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact Us

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AJC, in partnership with BLP is offering XERO FREE for a year to every qualifying Vanuatu Business.

We are proud to announce a new program that will help small and medium size enterprises (SME) in Vanuatu to move their accounting to XERO at zero cost for one year. This program will help qualifying SMEs to take advantage of simplified and streamlined accounting that XERO offers. AJC will help participating SMEs in the transition and offer necessary training to the SME’s employees.

Xero is a cloud base accounting software, created in New Zealand, it is currently used by more than 500,000 Small and Medium business in Australia and it is spreading fast across the Asia Pacific region. XERO is helping business to grow. XERO is 2018, if you have not made yet the switch, you are still working with old desktop software, if you have not yet computerized your accounting, this might be a good opportunity to make the move and to enhance your operations.

This program is possible with financing from Business Link Pacific. Some conditions apply.

Contact us today to see if your SME is eligible in this program.

AJC will give you access to XERO free for at least 12 months from the subscription date ( if the program is successful the free access shall be extended to 24 months). Xero Access cost at normal price USD 40$/ month for multicurrency account of USD 30$/month for single currencies.

With each access we will also give you a half an hour quick tour either via phone or at our office and help you out with really basic stuff such as setting up Vat within the system and setting up your company ID.

If you need further services from AJC such as setting up your trial balance, conversion dealing when moving from MYOB or other old technology accounting software, monthly help, Vat Return, VNPF return, annual account, audit, each of these are separate services that AJC can offer you, simply ask for a quote. These extra services might also qualify for an extra BLP grant, up to 50% of the professional fees involve could potentially be covered by the program.

You could also opt for other services providers for these services and still get the benefit of having your XERO access through AJC for free. With XERO you can invite an unlimited number of adviser to access you file online to help you out.

No more backup, and file corruption ever, no more lost of data, no more end of year process, no more close of year and start new year, all data available forever, everything in the cloud, all supplier invoices attached soft copies within the system, this is the beginning of AI ( Artificial Intelligence), increase productivity, increase accuracy, simple to learn, online video, etc. etc. Choose from hundred of add on apps that are seamlessly integrated/compatible with XERO, cold be for your POS, or PMS, or your ERP, or maybe managing only your stock, or your calendar. XERO and the ecosystem is evaluating every days, this new technology is a window to the future.


Mergers and Acquisitions in Vanuatu

Mergers & Acquisitions Ltd, a venture of Cessions Acquisitions based in New Caledonia is opening an office in Port Vila, Vanuatu. For that occasion, they organised an information seminar featuring AJC and other professional service providers in Vanuatu.

Here are the two presentation AJC did during this event covering the due diligence process and the costs of transferring the ownership of a company in Vanuatu. We explain why the due diligence is important, how it’s done and what the costs are. We also cover and explain the fees involved in different types of transfers of ownership in Vanuatu.

Presentations

Due Diligence (English)

Real Estate and Companies (English)

Vérification diligente (French)

Immobilier et Entreprises (French)

 

 


AJC International Horse Show 2018

The 6th edition of the AJC International Horse Show is happening this Sunday 13 May at Bellevue Ranch. It’s free and exciting for the whole family. Riders will fly from New Caledonia to compete in the AJC derby, a race particularly challenging to them as they have to ride horses they are not familiar with and get to know them only briefly before the competition. It is also a great opportunity to build links with foreign riders/clubs and show the quality of the academic horse riding in Vanuatu.

This AJC competition is also a qualifier for our riders to compete in the Horse Pacific Challenge held in Nouméa every October, an event that opposes Vanuatu, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and New Caledonia.

The Caledonian team from the club l’Etrier will arrive on Thursday and take off on Sunday, which gives them time, in addition to competing, to get a feeling of what matters while touring a little on our beloved island.

This coming AJC International Horse Show will start at 9 am and will include show jumping, derby, a thrilling, high-speed event on cross-country jump and a jumping relay, from 1 pm to 3 pm with 15 teams which is highly fun and entertaining to watch.

It’s Free. Come and enjoy this great family day and breathtaking competition at Bellevue Ranch this Sunday 13 May, enjoy a burger or a nice cold drink as Kandy’s Kitchen (K2) will be catering the barbecue.

The Riders’ Club and Stéphanie would also like to thank their loyal sponsor AJC for their continuous support as well as Lionfish design and the many Riders’ Club volunteers who make this event a success. For more information, visit The Riders’ Club’s Facebook page.

 


Vanuatu Government increases minimum wage effective 1 January 2018

Following on from the recently announced increase in the VAT rate to 15%, the Government has also approved an increase in the minimum wage from VT170 per hour to VT200 per hour effective 1 January 2018. Employers are advised to review and adjust staff salaries if required. A summary of the impact of the increase is shown below.

Full-time employee 40 hours per week 44 hours per week
Old monthly salary (gross): VT29,467 VT32,414
New monthly salary (gross): VT34,667 VT38,134

The change represents a 17.64% wage increase to workers on the minimum wage. Employees earning more than the minimum wage are not affected.

Happy New Year to all workers!

Official Gazette No. 96 of 2017 (dated 29 December 2017)


VAT increase starting 1st January 2018

The Government of Vanuatu has officially advised that Value Added Tax rate will increase from 12.5% to 15% from next Monday 1 January 2018.

A summary of how the rate change will impact your business is as follows:

Businesses registered for VAT on a payments basis

  • Payments received or made on or after 1 January 2018 for invoices issued on or after 1 January 2018 will attract the new rate of 15%.
  • Payments received or made for invoices issued before 1 January 2018 will remain at 12.5%. However an adjustment will be required on your VAT return to correctly account for it. Details are in the Transitional Guide released by the VAT Office.

Businesses registered for VAT on an invoice basis

  • If the invoice was issued before 1 January 2018, the old rate of 12.5% applies (and will be included in that period’s VAT return).
  • If the invoice is issued after 1 January 2018, the new rate of 15% applies.

Clients are reminded that the next two VAT returns (due on 5th January and 27 January 2018) relate to the period’s November and December 2017 respectively, and therefore the old rate of 12.5% still applies when calculating VAT payable/refundable.

Businesses utilising computerised accounting systems such as Xero, MYOB, Quickbooks, Opera, RoomMaster, etc. will need to manually update the tax rate in these systems on Monday 1 January 2018 to ensure that the correct VAT rate is charged. Please contact your software support provider/preferred advisor should you require assistance with this.

Additional documentation

Official Gazette No. 95 of 2017 (dated 22 December 2017)

VAT Rate Change – Notice to retailers

VAT Rate Change – Calculations

Customs VAT Rate Change – Calculations Bislama 291217

Customs VAT Rate Change – Notice to retailers Bislama 281217

Customs VAT Rate Change – Calculations French 291217

Customs VAT Rate Change – Notice to retailers French 281217


Martin St-Hilaire Interviewed by Vila Times

Read the interview our Managing Partner Martin St-Hilaire gave to Vila Times last week. It’s about Vanuatu’s financial sector and its future, the Income Tax, and the EU “bullying” Pacific tax havens.

Read the full article on Vila Times website.

Cover photo by Phillip Capper