Samoa’s economy on the Right Path, says Finance Minister

Apia, Samoa’s capital

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA TUESDAY 29 MAY 2018: Samoa’s economy continues to demonstrate resilience against a background of external shocks, and will continue to do better in the future.

This was the positive remark from the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti when tabled the 2018/2019 Budget in Parliament this morning.

On the theme “The Right Path” Sili said the Budget seeks to strike the right balance between all the competing priorities and demands.

“It is also to ensure  that we are doing whatever we can to respond  to the needs of our community to have access to essential services, to improve opportunity for people, and to build for our future,” said Sili.

In 2015/2016, there was an increase of 5% on Samoa’s economy and this was attributed to the launching of two big hotels in Samoa, the Sheraton Hotel & Aggie Greys Bungalow at Vaisigano, the Taumeasina Island Resort, revenues from the All Blacks and Manu Samoa game and from the Fisheries division.

In 2016/2017, there was an increase of 2.5% in the budget.

Last year, it dropped again to 1.8% due to the closure of YAZAKI Samoa and natural incidences that warranted Government to spend more, and while there were progress in some areas, Sili said the economy showed disappointing statistics.

However, he is confident that by 2018/2019, there will be an increase of 3.1% in the economy.

“This is due to two companies now taking up where YAZAKI used to operate from, and the materials created there will be exported,” said Sili.

He also expects a 3.7% increase of the budget by 2019/2010, due to tourism and the Pacific Games to be hosted by Samoa in July next year.

“There is optimism in the economy over the medium term, and businesses will enjoy an environment that creates opportunities for them to grow and help create jobs for our people,” said Sili.

Despite his optimism over the budget and economy, Sili said the Government should not lose sight of the risks Samoa faces occasionally.

The revenue received in 2018/2019 is $849.48 million and the expenditures sit at $932.92 million. The overall budget deficit $83.44 million, and the soft term financing is $70.57 million. The cash deficit after borrowing is $12.87 million.

The Minister of Finance Sili Epa Tuioti after he tabled the Budget in Parliament this morning

Expenditure priorities:

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries – $13 million.

Ministry of Commerce industry and Labour -$6.5 million

Samoa Tourism Authority- $11.96 million

Ministry Communication & Information Technology – $8.7 million.

Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture – $85.6 million.

Ministry of Finance – $89.3 million.

Ministry for Revenue – $13.2 million.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade – $23.2 million.

Ministry of Health – $11.7 million.

National Health Service – $80.1 million.

Ministry for Prisons – $9.6  million.

Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment – $25.6 million.

Ministry for Works, Transport & Infrastructure – $18.7 million

Land Transport Authority – $25.8 million.