PORT VILA, 17 AUGUST 2020 (VANUATU DAILY POST) —The revenue collected from the sales of Vanuatu citizenships under the two citizenship programmes has skyrocketed in the last three and half months.

Chairman of the Vanuatu National Citizenship Commission (VNCC), Ronald Warsal confirmed that from 15 June to 14 August, passport sales raked in approximately Vt9.6 billion (US$844,000). This figure is expected to increase by the end of this month.

This year, the Government decided to open up applications for interested agents under the Development Support Programme (DSP). Currently there are 80 Ni-Vanuatu designated agents. The government contracted the Vanuatu Contributory Programme (VCP) to another person who is based in Hong Kong.

“The Government intends to support locals by expanding the opportunity for more locals to become agents,” Warsal explained.

“We have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as TC Harold. This opportunity does not only support our people but also boosts our economy.”

In 2017, the Passport law was amended in order to proceed with the citizenship sale programme. Since 2017, the revenue collected from the sale of citizenships continued to record an increase.

Warsal confirmed they have exceeded their initial target for 2020 by June, which was Vt7.5 billion (US$659,000). Each month the Citizenship Commission granted citizenships to over 100 interested applicants.

While the government is generating revenue from this programme, it is also considering the disadvantage of the programme.

“The government through the Citizenship Commission has tightened up the security and due diligence checks when implementing this programme,” the chairman said.

“This includes strict scrutinisation of the applications. This is to ensure that the applicants do not have criminal records.”

The head of VNCC also confirmed that the government through the Council of Ministers (CoM) has diversified the citizenship programme.

This will be implemented by the Citizenship Commission. This will see the introduction of two additional programmes under the citizenship sale.

We will have an in-depth analysis of government revenue and Budget Policy Statement 2021 in this month’s Business Review……PACNEWS

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