This presentation was delivered by Martin St-Hilaire, CPA and Chairman of the FCA, during the 2020 National Business Forum. It explored the respective roles that government and the private sector could play to foster economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all tourism.

The event brought together representatives of the government and the private sector during two days of panels and discussions at the Warwick Le Lagon resort in Port Vila (pictured above).

Key highlights

  • Only the private sector creates wealth, which makes it the engine of the economy. The role of the government is not to create wealth, it always fails when government tries to, the role of Government is to enable a good environment for business to thrive.
  • The Government can help by promoting policies and legislation that are business friendly.
  • A business friendly environment indirectly translates into better education and healthcare services for the population, which in turn contributes to a business friendly environment.
  • The Government also has the power to negatively affect the economy
    through fees, taxes and red tape that make doing business costlier and more difficult.
  • Government can be an enabler of private investments.

The way forward

The road to Recovery and Prosperity requires government investment in these 6 areas:

  1. Education
  2. Health
  3. Security and Law Enforcement
  4. Business Legislation
  5. Infrastructure
  6. Environnement

The Private Sector and Investors (Foreign or Local ) simply need the exact same things that the Vanuatu population needs. If the government focuses their effort on these areas, the investments will naturally flow into Vanuatu and the Virtuous circle will replace the Vicious one.

Prosperity, wealth, growth, are ingredients that are necessary when you are a small nation with a unique culture and you want to preserve what you are.