31 October 2013

NEWS RELEASE: ADB Welcomes New State-owned Enterprise Policy for Vanuatu

PORT VILA, VANUATU: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) welcomes the approval of the state owned enterprises (SOE) policy by the Vanuatu Council of Ministers. ADB supported drafting of the policy, which was prepared following extensive government consultations.
SOEs place a heavy burden on Vanuatu’s economy. They absorb large amounts of scarce capital on which they provide very low returns, divert government resources away from vital social investments in health and education, and drive-up the costs of doing business where they are the sole service providers.
“The approval of the SOE policy demonstrates this Government’s strong commitment to improving the performance of its SOEs” said Honorable Maki Simelum, Minister of Finance. “It is the first step in our broader SOE reform program that will include the strengthening of governance and monitoring practices and the restructuring of individual SOEs”.

30 October 2013

Riding the Wave: Reform, Private Sector Development and Growth in the Pacific

By Paul Holden*
PACIFIC island economies are mostly small, geographically isolated, and relatively undiversified, with narrow export bases. Because of their size, there are few opportunities for economies of scale and limited access to international capital markets. They are vulnerable to natural disasters and rely heavily on development partner assistance and on remittances. They are mostly characterized by large informal sectors, a substantial public sector presence in the economy, and low productivity. Growth performance lags behind other comparable countries in other regions.
And yet the familiar explanations for low growth do not hold in the Pacific. Net domestic investment has not been especially low and its citizens lack nothing in productive capability as their ability to find work in Australia, New Zealand and the United States demonstrates, yet the economic performance of countries in the region has been disappointing. A major explanation for the low growth has been the neglect of private sector development in many Pacific region economies.

26 October 2013

ADB/PSDI presents at Pacific Microfinance Week

ADB had a strong presence at the 2013 Pacific Microfinance Week in Nadi, Fiji. PSDI made several presentations and conducted training workshops, which we share below:

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Erik Aelbers, PSDI Access to Finance Expert
Erik presented on ‘branchless banking and consumer protection’ in the plenary session on 'Microfinance Policy and Regulation' and particularly covered
  1. the principles of consumer protection, including around transparency, fair treatment of customers, and effective recourse, 
  2. an overview of the consumer protection issues as they relate to branchless banking, where agents may be the prime interface between the customer and the financial service provider, 
  3. considerations for regulators when deciding whether to introduce consumer protection regulation.

24 October 2013

The PSDI Podcast #1: Interview with Solomon Islands Registrar of Companies, Edwin Saramo


If you cannot see the audio controls, or the player is not compatible with your browser listen/download the audio file here

PSDI Solomon Islands representative Jarrod Harrington interviews the country's Registrar of Companies, Mr Edwin Saramo about the public consultations underway on proposed
changes to the Registration of Business Names legislation. Submissions are welcome and can be sent:
  • via email to sibusinessnames@gmail.com, 
  • by post to Company Haus at PO Box G26, Honiara 
  • or in person at Company Haus, Mendana Ave, Honiara. 
To obtain copies of the Business Names Bill click here. The deadline for submissions is Monday 11 November 2013.

15 October 2013

Solomon Islands kicks off consultations on review of business names law

HONIARA, 16 OCTOBER 2013 (ADB) – Consultations begin today in Solomon Islands as part of the review of the Registration of Business Names Bill. The joint review by the Solomon Islands Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) aims to modernize and improve the business name registration procedure in Solomon Islands.
Mr.Hence Vaekesa
“When you have a registered business name, your customers can be certain that they are dealing with your business and you can be confident that no one else is trading on your good name,” said Hence Vaekesa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration in Solomon Islands.
“Improving the business name registration process will encourage more people to start up businesses in Solomon Islands.” (Submissions are welcome and can be sent via email.)
Most small business and rural business owners in Solomon Islands register their businesses using the existing Registration of Business Names Act. The process is cumbersome, and many business owners have to travel vast distances to town to file their applications, incurring significant costs. ADB is assisting the Solomon Islands Government in drafting a new Registration of Business Names Bill for consideration by Parliament.

1 October 2013

Pacific economies expected to achieve ADO 2013 growth forecasts.

Growth will be steady for the Pacific, says ADB's biannual Asian Development Outlook 2013 Update:
"Pacific economies as a whole are expected to achieve ADO 2013 growth forecasts. The growth forecasts for the Pacific subregion remain unchanged at 5.2% in 2013 and 5.5% in 2014. Higher growth expectations for the Cook Islands and Fiji in 2013 are offset by lower projections for Kiribati, Nauru, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. Improving consumption and investment indicators in Fiji and unexpectedly large increases in tourism arrivals in the Cook Islands prompt upgrades in their growth forecasts. Downward revisions are led by a modest decline in the 2013 growth forecast for Timor-Leste, where public expenditure is lower than budgeted, and a more significant downgrade in the forecast for Solomon Islands, where production in gold mining, logging, and agriculture are falling short of expectations. The forecast for inflation in 2013 is revised down to 5.7% from 6.1% and in 2014 to 6.0% from 6.3%."