The number of Parliamentary Standing Committees halved

The Government has reduced the number of Vanuatu’s Parliamentary Standing Committees from eight to four.

The committees check on the activities of the Government to keep it accountable to the people.

Vanuatu’s Parliamentary Clerk, Raymond Manuake, says the number was reduced because of the limited resources the Office of the Parliamentary Secretariat has, to be able to support the work of eight committees.

He says with a reverse Standing Order, they were able to cut down the number to four so that the committees could be well managed and could do their jobs properly and report back to the Parliament.

Mr Manuake says the four Standing Committees now are: the Public Accounts Committee, the Economic and Foreign Policy Committee, the Social Affairs Committee and the Institutional and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

The committees that have been cut out or merged into other committees are the Committee on Standing Orders Review, the Committee on the Members of Parliament Ethics and Integrity, Committee on Privileges and the Committee on Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

The members and chairman of the four new Standing Committees were appointed this week in Port Vila.

A Luganville Member of Parliament, Matai Seremiah, was appointed as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. Wesly Rasu, the Malo Constituency MP was appointed as the Chairman of the Standing Committee for Economic and Foreign Policy. A Santo Rural MP, Joshua Pikioune, has been appointed as the Chairman of the Social Affairs Committee; and the Maewo MP, John Still Tari, has been appointed as the Chairman of the Institutional and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

MP Matai Seremiah, the new Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, says he looks forward to working together with the Parliament Standing Committees.

He says the Public Accounts Committee is responsible to inquire on the Government’s expenses by Government institutions and any statutory bodies.

“This committee plays an important role and I as the chairman, will do my best with the team to support the Government to deal with any issues,” he said.

MP Seremiah says the Public Accounts Committee will work on any issues in any areas that the public regards as needed.

The Economic Foreign Policy Committee will look at areas such as trade, tourism, economy, foreign policy and economic activities.

The Social Affairs Committee will address areas such as health, education, justice, climate change, youth, land and business development.

And the Institutional and Constitutional Affairs Committee will look at Government institutions and the laws of the country.

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