Tabi: Internal Affairs does not issue licences

The office of Public Land Transport Authority has responded to allegations raised by the Office of the Leader of Opposition and says “it welcomes the questions raised by the Leader of the Opposition, however, the allegations raised is wrong and purports to say that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public Land Transport Authority are responsible for the issuance of business licenses.”

The response by the Public Land Transport Association CEO, Reginald Tabi, states the “Minister of Internal Affairs through the Office of Public Land Transport Authority is not responsible for issuing Business Licenses.”

“Business Licenses are issued by the Department of Customs and Provincial Governments under the Business License Act [CAP249] and no order has been signed to stop the issuance of business licenses to public transport operators.”

The Office of Public Land Transport Authority issues Drivers and Vehicle Permits in accordance with the Public Land Transport Act No. 4 of 2015.

The CEO confirms that the Hon. Minister of Internal Affairs signed on 19th June 2018 an Order to “Limit the Issuance of Vehicle Permits for Service Buses in Efate” and according to Order No. 3 of 2018, the Office of Public Land Transport Authority was instructed not to issue more than 1, 400 vehicle permits for service buses operating on the island of Efate (a copy is attached for your perusal).

CEO Tabi confirms that “NO further Permits has been issued in contravention to the Order by the Office of Public Land Transport Authority and the reports received by the Office of the Leader of the Opposition may be from disgruntled service bus owners who could not obtain a permit from Public Land Transport Authority when the Order became effective.”

Tabi says “If we have issued a Tour Operator Permit to a Chinese national, it may be because they obtained a Foreign Investment Approval Certificate from Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority. Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority administers the Reserve Investment List. We will investigate this and deal with the owner.”

“We are aware of reports that there are certain drivers (Ni-Van) working for foreign owners of public transport in Vanuatu. Reports are coming in and we will investigate with other stakeholders and report to our Board of Directors to deal with them.”

The Public Land Transport Association had offers from certain car dealers this year to “sell more than 50 vehicle permits to them this year but the offers were rejected”

CEO Tabi also adds “I would be grateful if sources of the information coming to your office could provide the same report to our Office to investigate.”

“We are currently collecting information on certain Law enforcement officers, Civil Servants, and Councilors who operate public transport without valid permits, business licenses and have not paid road tax to the Government.”

The CEO says “We have issued the same notice to the public on our facebook page, which we invite members of the public to visit for daily updates.”

The response, however, does not deny issuing a permit to a Chinese and PLTA have assured the public they will investigate the matter.