Government and Church finally meet over tax – Cabinet decision awaited


The Chairman of the Congregational Christian Church, Reverend Tautiaga Senara after this morning’s meeting with the Prime Minister and Cabinet

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 18 JUNE 2018: The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) is awaiting a response from Cabinet after they met this morning over taxing of church ministers.

CCCS Chairman, Reverend Elder Tautiaga Senara could not disclose details of the hour-long meeting but seemed happy with the discussions.

“It was positive,” he told Talamua outside Cabinet room after the meeting. “They (Cabinet) will let us know of their decision,” said Tautiaga.

The Chairman and delegation that consisted of about thirty Reverend Elders from Upolu and Savaii as well as the Elder Deacons, then retired to the church hall at Mulinu’u for further discussion, while Cabinet continued its’ meeting.

Cabinet meets normally on Wednesdays however, a special meeting was called at 900 this morning before the meeting with the church leaders at 1100.

The senior church leaders waiting to go in for the meeting

Also present were the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Revenue, Matafeo Avalisa Viali- Fautuaali’i and Sefo Ainu’u of the Attorney General’s office.

At the church annual Conference two weeks ago, the General Assembly decided to reject paying government taxes that has already been passed into law.

The General Assembly also opted to pay voluntary donations instead to help the Government’s development projects. That was rejected by the Prime Minister who described the decision as the church holding a gun against the governments head.

During the general conference, some Church Elders expressed that the issue is the beginning of the fall of the ruling HRPP government.

CEO of the Ministry of Revenue Matafeo Avalisa Futuaalii and Sefo Ainuu of the Attorney Generals Office after the meeting