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Vanuatu

Introduction

Vanuatu is formed of 83 islands approximately, located 800 km west of Fiji and 2,250 km north-east of Sydney. Vanuatu is known as a tourist destination with its beautiful rainforest, wonderful beaches and decorated with the smiling faces of its local population.

Population

Vanuatu has a population of 243,304. Males outnumber females; in 1999, according to the Vanuatu Statistics Office, there were 95,682 males and 90,996 females. The population is predominantly rural, but Port Vila and Luganville have populations in the tens of thousands.

Language

The national language of the Republic of Vanuatu is Bislama. The official languages are Bislama, French and English. The principal languages of education are French and English. The use of English or French as the formal language is split along political lines.

Political Structure

Vanuatu is a republic with a non-executive presidency. The President is elected by Parliament together with the Presidents of the regional councils and serves a five-year term. The single-chamber Parliament has 52 members, directly elected every four years by universal adult suffrage with an element of proportional representation. Parliament appoints the Prime Minister from among its members, and the Prime Minister appoints a council of ministers from among the MPs.

Economy

Economic development in Vanuatu is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances to major markets. Strong factionalism continues to undermine policymaking. There is an overall lack of commitment to institutional reforms. Property rights are poorly protected, and investment is deterred by the country’s inadequate physical and legal infrastructure. High tariffs and nontariff barriers to trade hold back integration into the global marketplace

Currency

Vanuatu vatu (VUV)

Exchange Control

There are no exchange controls in Vanuatu. Bank accounts may be in any currency, and international transfers are free of all controls.

Financial services industry

Financial services in Vanuatu are highly concentrated in the two urban areas of Port Vila and Luganville, and dominated by four commercial banks, a superannuation fund, and four domestically licensed general insurers. Of these stakeholders, only the National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV) is providing services on any scale to low income clients. These services are complemented by the two much smaller semi-formal providers, Vanuatu Women’s Development Scheme (VANWODS) and the Department of Cooperatives.

Since the last financial service sector assessment (FSSA) for Vanuatu in 2007, great progress has been made towards developing an inclusive financial sector in the country, with the number of people accessing financial services increasing by an average rate of 19% a year. Currently an estimated 19% of the population has access to formal or semi-formal financial services, and the percentage of the population with banking services is about half that of Fiji (39%), which benefits from a vastly more developed economy and concentrated population, and outperforms both Solomon Islands (15%) and Papua New Guinea (8%).

Corporate Law/Act

The laws which regulate corporations in Vanuatu are:

  • The International Companies Act (1993);
  • The Companies Act; and
  • The Banking, Insurance, Stamp Duties and Trust Companies Act.

The International Companies Act (IC) holds directors personally responsible for ensuring that the IC is able to meet its liabilities. The Financial Services Commissioner administers these laws and the Vanuatu Supreme Court adjudicates any conflicts.

Type of Company/Corporation: One IBC Limited provide Incorporation service in Luxembourg with the type International Company (IC)

Business Restriction: The Government is particularly interested in encouraging investment in tourism, agriculture, fishing, forestry and timber products. However, there are restrictions to ensure that natural resources are not over exploited. The thrust of Government thinking is to encourage labour intensive industries, using local products which will lead to import substitution.

Company Name Restriction: Vanuatu corporations must pick a unique name that is not similar to already existing corporation names. Typically, three versions of the corporate name are submitted with the hope that one of them will be approved.

Company Information privacy: Shareholder(s) and director(s) nominee services are allowed to ensure confidentiality of beneficiaries.

Incorporation Procedure

Just 4 simple steps are given to incorporate a company in Vanuatu:

  • Step 1: Select basic Resident/Founder nationality information and other additional services which you want (if any).

  • Step 2: Register or login and fill in the company names and director/ shareholder(s) and fill in billing address and special request (if any).

  • Step 3: Choose your payment method (We accept payment by Credit/Debit Card, PayPal or Wire Transfer).

  • Step 4: You will receive soft copies of necessary documents including: Certificate of Incorporation, Business Registration, Memorandum and Articles of Association, etc. Then, your new company in a Vanuatu is ready to do business. You can bring the documents in company kit to open corporate bank account or we can help you with our long experience of Banking support service.

* These documents required to incorporate company in Vanuatu:

  • Passport of each shareholder/beneficial owner and director;

  • Proof of residential address of each director and shareholder (Must be in English or certified translation version);

  • The proposed company names;

  • The issued share capital and par value of shares.

Compliance

Capital

No concept of authorised share capital

Share

Bearer shares are permitted

Director

Vanuatu corporations must have at least one director. Directors do not have to be residents of Vanuatu.

Shareholder

Vanuatu corporations must have at least one shareholder. There is no maximum number of shareholders. Shareholders do not have to be residents of Vanuatu.

Beneficial Owner

The Vanuatu incorporation documents do not carry the name or identity of the member(s) or director(s). As such no names appear on the public record.

Taxation

Vanuatu does not impose taxes on its corporations.

Financial statement

Vanuatu corporations are not required to keep annual lists of directors and shareholders in their corporation records. Offshore corporations in Vanuatu are not required to file annual returns or submit yearly accounting records.

Local Agent

Vanuatu corporations must have a local registered agent and a local office address. This address will be used for process service requests and for official notices.

Double Taxation Agreements

There are no double taxation treaties between Vanuatu and other countries.

License

Payment, Company Return Due Date

Every year companies must submit an annual return. It can easily be done through the online registry, and only takes a few minutes – especially if you have no changes to make. There are no annual return filing dates in December or January due to the holiday season. If your company incorporated in December, then the annual return filing date will be November.

If your company incorporated in January, your filing date will be in February. The first is on the day before the first day of your annual return filing month (eg 31 May if your filing month is June). You will receive a second reminder 5 days before the end of the filing month.

Penalty

If your annual return is more than 6 months late, your company will be removed from the company register. This has significant consequences for operating your business. Under the Companies Act, while removed, the assets of the company are transferred to the Crown.

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