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Vanuatu Minister stresses importance of government support to Department of Biosecurity

Vanuatu Minister stresses importance of government support to Department of Biosecurity
Vanuatu Minister stresses importance of government support to Department of Biosecurity
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Vanuatu Minister responsible for Biosecurity, Matai Seremaiah, says it is high time the Government realised the important role the Department of Biosecurity (DoB) plays and equips the Department accordingly.
Minister Seremaiah made the remarks during a press conference on the update of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) and the African Swine Fever (ASF) on Monday.
He said the current resources, including the budget and staffing in the DoB are spread thinly.
“The current resources are spread too thin, and as for the budget, the DoB is operating on its current budget while we await the November budget (parliamentary) session. It is time, the government realizes the importance of Biosecurity Vanuatu,” Minister Seremaiah, who is responsible for Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Livestock and Biosecurity, remarked when answering questions from the local media on the CRB and the ASF.
Minister Seremaiah revealed the Department of Finance should release funds of Vt500,000 (US$4,264) this week to enable experts to set up X-ray machines that Biosecurity staff will operate at both the Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila and Pekoa in Luganville.
This way travellers and their luggage will be screened and the chances of foreign harmful pests and diseases entering Vanuatu borders will be reduced.
He also mentioned the possibility of using dogs at Vanuatu border control points for similar purposes.
In the meantime, Minister Seremaiah made it clear the ministry he is responsible for will not tolerate anyone who fails to respect the cautious measures introduced by the ministry or the government in order to minimise risks of the spread of CRB.
The Biosecurity minister stressed it is high time the government realises the importance of the role of the DoB and supports it to ensure it is well equipped financially, technically and to human resources, in order for the department to provide the services required at the country’s borders. SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS

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