Apia town, Samoa’s main business centre
BY Pa’i Mulitalo Ale
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2017: The registration of any foreign business wanting to set up in Samoa has been put on hold by the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling told Talamua that they are reviewing the registration process due to the many changes and the many concerns raised by members of the public.
“The government’s intention is to bring in foreign investors to Samoa as it opens up employment opportunities for our people and to help develop the economy of Samoa,” said Pulotu.
However, it looks like there are more and more foreigners coming into the country and Pulotu said they are looking at how the whole foreign investment system had worked.
“We have seen the growth of different businesses in Samoa and we know who and what they are,” said Pulotu.
“We are working on the guidelines to monitor the foreign businesses and we have to put the registration on hold only for a short period of time.”
“The more businesses we have creates competition and prices go down other than more employment opportunities for our people,” said Pulotu.
The main concern expressed by members of the public is that foreign owned businesses are taking over opportunities and businesses that should have been reserved for locals. There is also more foreigners doing jobs that could have been available to locals.
Pulotu said under the Foreign Investment Act 2000 there are guidelines for foreign businesses who want to invest in Samoa.
There is a reserve list under this Act, which lists the kinds of business activities the foreigners cannot do here.
“They cannot start a public transport business, elei business, small shops, and other kinds of business but there are kinds of businesses already set out for them to do,” explains Pulotu.
He said foreign owned businesses have to go through their Ministry’s assessment on what kind of business they want to do before they pass it on to the Ministry of Revenue to issue a business license.