Samoa Parliament passes budget

Samoan Minister of Finance Sili Epa Tuioti. Picture: RNZ

APIA, 22 JUNE 2018 (SAMOA OBSERVER) – Samoan Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti’s $932.92 million (US$363.64 million) budget for 2018/2019 was passed by Parliament last night.

The nod of approval was given after three days of budget debate where Parliament worked into the night to discuss the budget allocations.

Cabinet Ministers spent Thursday addressing the concerns raised by Members of Parliament in relation to developments within their constituencies.

In summing up, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi highlighted the importance of the development projects the Government has committed to carry out.

He reminded that since the HRPP came into power, Samoa has come a long way, socially and economically.

He said Samoa was once among the poorest countries in the world but that has changed due to the Government’s commitment to improve the lives of members of the public.

Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa spoke about the importance of putting people first in terms of development. As Members of Parliament, they should always remember that their work is geared towards improving the prospects of the people they govern.

The Minister of Finance, Sili, tabled the budget under the theme “The Right Path” two weeks ago.

With total Revenues estimated at $849.48 million (US$331.6 million), a deficit of $85.44 million (US$33.26 million) is forecasted. Sili said the Budget continues the Government’s commitment to improve the quality of life for all Samoans and continues its commitment to equity.

“There is positive optimism in the economy over the medium term,” Sili said during his budget address.

“It means businesses will enjoy an environment that creates opportunities for them to grow and to help create jobs for our people. It also means there will be fiscal space for government to provide the services required by our people,” he said.

“But we should never lose sight of the fact that Samoa faces a number of risks. That underscores the need for the government to continue to put in place the policy framework that will ensure macroeconomic stability and fiscally responsible.” he said.