Government of Vanuatu
 

Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands in a Y-shape archipelago that stretches 1,300 kilometres. The majority of the population live on the five major islands. The population of Vanuatu is approximately 272,000. Port Vila, on the island of Efate, is the capital.

 

Most of Vanuatu's population lives in rural areas where subsistence farming, fishing and production of cash crops such as kava, coconut and cocoa are the main sources of livelihood. Vanuatu is considered to be one of the worlds least wealthy countries and relies heavily of foreign aid.

The Government of Vanuatu adopts accrual based IPSAS standards and in 2016 appointed consultants to help them identify the major assets of the whole-of-government for the first time and to develop a strategy and policy to enable them to be valued under IPSAS17 for the first time.

The assets included :-

 

  • Land

  • Buildings (houses, education, health, government)

  • Road Infrastructure

  • Drainage Infrastructure

  • Wharves

  • IT Infrastructure

  • Energy Infrastructure

  • Water Infrastructure

  • Major plant

 

To build capability the project entailed the development of a range of policies and procedures as well as extensive training of GOV staff across the key agencies.

To ensure training was embedded the consultants adopted of process of initial training in small steps which was then followed by actual application by Government of Vanuatu staff in the field. The results were then reviewed by the consultants and followed by appropriate enhancement training.

Due to the lack of qualified staff, low levels of capability and to simplify the complexity involved in asset valuation under the accounting standards the consultants used Asset Valuer Pro as a key part of the strategy. The consultants facilitated the development of the appropriate asset hierarchy and assumptions and undertook the initial set up of the system.

They then conducted extensive in-field training with the various officers training them on how to collect data, undertake inspections and upload data into the system. Training and workshops were conducted in Port Vila, Santo and Tanna islands. To make this process efficient they also provide a number of Windows tablets and other tools.

In order to deliver a successful outcome there were a number of issues and challenges that needed to be overcome. These included the following :-

 

  • Limited understanding of the government’s actual assets in terms of types and materiality

  • Low levels of knowledge and capability

  • Poor levels of communication and collaboration amongst the various Departments

  • Asset Registers were incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or required consolidation of multiple sources of different types of data

  • Lack of dedicated budget for the operational aspects of the project (travel costs, etc)

  • Limited access to technology and physical tools

  • Difficulty in identifying and committing appropriate staff to the project team 

 

These issues were addressed in a number of ways. This included :-

  • Initial analysis and development of strategy undertaken by the consultants with a high level of discussion and collaboration with key Finance and Treasury and AMVU staff

  • A range of workshops, presentations and in-field training with the wider group which included members of the Asset Management Valuation Unit (AMVU), Department of Finance and Treasury (DoFT) staff and representatives of the key Departments and Auditor-General’s Office.

  • Detailed training on accounting standards and policy deferred for the AMVU until they had undertaken much of the data collection exercise.

  • Conduct of a 100% inspection regime covering all islands and asset classes. This included all buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

  • Successful development of a project budget put together by AMVU and subsequently approved by DoFT. This provided for travel costs, etc to enable the AMVU to undertake the physical inspections.

  • Provision of a Windows based tablets and a range of physical tools (such as measuring wheels, laser measuring devices, etc) along with appropriate training in their use.

  • Sourcing appropriate staff from other agencies to form the AMVU team.

 

From start to finish the project took 15 months and resulted in the successful valuation of the whole-of-government assets for the first time.

 

This project highlighted that any government or agency, irrespective of their existing capability, with the assistance of Asset Valuer Pro is able to deliver their own financial reporting valuations. This is achievable because all of the intellectual property surrounding asset valuation and the technical requirements of the accounting standards are built within Asset Valuer Pro. All that is required, once the framework is established, is to collect and validate the data. Asset Valuer Pro undertakes all the calculations and produces all of the necessary outputs.

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