By Timothy Gaio Jnr
Black Man Town must say no to the World Trade Organization (WTO). There are so many examples of self-reliance here. Blackman Town is a role model our nation needs to learn from in order to build up the national economy.
The question is: how we can as a nation build our economy so that even the grassroots also can benefit from it?
Speaking from a Man Tanna point of view, Tanna as an island and a society is now experiencing economic growth. I am not a statistician or an economist to weigh and measure the island’s economic growth rate. However speaking from my personal observation and experience, I can say that money making is quick down there. There is a massive inflow of millions of dollars into the money making machine in Tanna and Tafea.
Let us look at a simple equation of economy. A farmer plants his island cabbage and when he harvests it, he wishes to earn some money from it. He therefore sells some along the main high way. He in turn makes some money. He goes home and wants to eat rice. Brother Tom operates a small store where he goes and buys 1 kilo of rice for 200vt. This is the beginning of economic growth, owned by the people and benefitting the people.
Our President Iolu Abbil is a former manager and former inspector of cooperatives in the islands which were set up prior to independence to form the foundation of our national economy. An article in Daily post February 1, 2012 reads, “Wai cooperative in Lolowai Ambae shoots up to Vt59 Million, a profit of 8 Million and shares of Vt2 Million.” Does that not reflect an economic boom for the island and country? The article says Wai Cooperative comes second to Lakatoro Consumers. However, how much more could this figure compare to Black Man Town local economic producers?
The problem is not about money, but how we can make it. We have the product, which we call our natural resources, plus our quality human resources. Long term plans to earn money out of our own resources should be the focus of the planners of our economic development.
The problem is that we want fast food, short cuts and money under the table to implement fast decisions which may lead our country to poverty. Our leaders must think constructively and not only to reflect other people’s thoughts and motives.
Compare Bon Marche to the reality now that we have passed the bill ratifying the WTO Accession. Today I walk to Bon Marche and buy a bundle of Island cabbage for 150vt while sometimes in the Market a bundle is sold for 200vt. World Trade Organization is an economic system that allows big companies to reduce the prices of their products. But selling at very low prices automatically kills our little businesses that we have operated for years to put food on the table every day. 200vt cash may sound a lot, but this is the standard of our economy.
Economic outcome is an end product, which begins with the producer and ends with the consumer. We build our infrastructure and keep the bulk of our money. World Trade Organization and its system builds its infrastructure and takes our money away. It leaves us with nothing: therefore we borrow and borrow again.
To conclude, Black Man Town – you have already set the platform for economic growth. Let us be challenged to protect our economic development – firstly to achieve our individual Provincial Goals, then our National Government Goals.