31 August 2015

Online business registry launched in Vanuatu

Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) Commissioner George Andrews, PSDI Business Law Reform Expert Aaron Levine (seated), VFSC Board Deputy Chairman Lionel Kalaut and ADB Pacific Liaison and Coordination Officer Regional Director Andrea Iffland at the launch of Vanuatu's online business registry in  Port Vila on 31 August, 2015. 
An online business registry supported by PSDI has been opened in Vanuatu.

The registry allows both Ni-Vanuatu and overseas investors to register and maintain business details and pay fees online. It will reduce the average time for company registrations from more than 3 weeks to under 3 days. The convenience, online payments and digital reminders of the registry are expected to increase compliance with business regulations, while its online search functions will increase transparency and international business confidence.

The opening of the registry represented the culmination of a series of PSDI-backed legal reforms that will dramatically simplify doing business in Vanuatu. These reforms include the recognition of new corporate structures, such as one-person companies that encourage women to register a business independently, and community companies, which allow communities to run a business and ensure the profits from it are shared fairly.

The registry was launched by the Commissioner of the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission George Andrews and Deputy Chairman of the VFSC Board Lionel Kaluat at a ceremony attended by representatives from the private sector, the ADB, and the governments of Australia and New Zealand.

An extensive public awareness raising campaign to inform people about the functions and benefits of the registry is underway. Meanwhile, training sessions are being held around the country with individuals working in sectors that are likely to be heavy users of the registry.

The registry can be found at www.vfsc.vu.

PSDI Business Law Reform Expert Aaron Levine can be heard discussing the benefits of the registry on ABC Radio here.

See news release.

25 August 2015

Women's professional leadership pilot project launched in Tonga

Participants at the first training session of PSDI's women's business leadership pilot project in Nuku'alofa, Tonga on 25 August, 2015. Also pictured are PSDI's Gender Expert Vijaya Nagarajan and pilot project trainer Valerie Mosley. 
A PSDI pilot project that will prepare women for leadership roles in the private sector has been launched in Tonga.

The pilot project will train 17 women employees of Tongan companies and organizations to become more ambitious, capable and confident in approaching leadership roles. It is one of four pilot projects being implemented under PSDI's Economic Empowerment of Women focus area.

The participants met for the first two-day training session in Nuku'alofa on 25 August, with two more training sessions to be held in the coming six months. The trainings will be complemented by online courses and the mentoring of participants by local and international business women.  

Numerous Tongan businesses and government agencies are supporting the project by encouraging their to staff to participate or mentor, providing material assistance and facilities, and committing to facilitating follow-up trainings so course participants can pass on what they learned to other women. Participating Tongan employers include the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour; Tonga Power; Pacific Retail Ltd; ANZ Bank; the Ministry of Revenue and Customs; Tonga Airports; Tonga Development Bank; and Bank South Pacific.

The next training session will be on 3-4 November.

See news release.

6 August 2015

PSDI's annual Partner's Retreat wraps up in Sydney

PSDI's annual, three-day Partners Retreat wrapped up in Sydney today.

The Retreat was attended attended by representatives from the Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea; and DFAT’s Timor-Leste Desk Office, as well as representatives from the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; and the New Zealand Companies Office. 

Together with the PSDI team, our counterparts in PLCO, and other Pacific-based ADB staff, the Retreat participants examined the reach of PSDI and the activities of partner organizations in Pacific countries in order to identify opportunities for innovation and collaboration in private sector development programming.