APIA, SAMOA – 28 AUGUST 2020: Tautua Samoa’s leader, Luagalau Dr. Afualo Wood Salele told a press conference yesterday that Government cannot pay off that loan and they need every penny available to assist with the loan repayment.
But he wondered why the Government is dishing out this financial assistance at this time so close to the 2021 general elections.
“Why now,” he wondered.
With the general elections only 9 months away, one would easily suggest that Government was using their political trump card to gain attention and Luagalau said that, that was the only reason why.
The Governments’ budget allows for $12m tala to be paid to every individual to register in the census and have an electronic identification project.
The allocation was announced by the Minister for Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti in his Budget address last month. The $50 tala allocation has been labelled as a political gimmick guised as a pandemic stimulus package when Samoa has yet to have a Covid19 case.
Luagalau emphasized that $50 tala for every citizen is not enough and if Government was genuine about helping people through the COVID-19 lockdown, then double it, make it $100.
The media reminded Luagalau of his concern about the country’s $1.8 billion overseas loan and yet, he is suggesting $100 per person.
Asked where Government should get that money, Luagalau was quick to say that there is money available but Government is not prioritizing what needs to be prioritized