American Samoa Governor appoints group to look at min wage impacts

American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga. Picture: RNZ

PAGOPAGO, 07 SEPTEMBER 2018 (TALANEI NEWS) – American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga has set up a group to determine the financial and economic impact of the next US$0.40 cent increase in the local minimum wage.

The governor says in a letter establishing the Federal Minimum Wage Assessment Working Group that the main contributor to American Samoa’s Gross Domestic Product dropping 5.3% in 2017 and 2.6% in 2016 is the closure of Samoa Packing in 2009 and Samoa Tuna Processors in 2016.

He declares that the territory’s economy has never recovered from these two disastrous economic events.

Lolo points out that the economic outlook for American Samoa is bleak given the current challenges mounting against the remaining cannery Starkist Samoa and adds that these challenges are “federally induced because of its stifling policies. ”

Says the governor, “The most critical and imminent is the implementation of the automatic 40 cents federal minimum wage hike for all industries.”

The next 40 cents increase in the local minimum wage is set for the end of this month.

The governor has named the Department of Commerce to chair the federal Minimum Wage Assessment Working Group and given the group 30 days to complete their report on the financial and economic impact of the next 40 cent hike.

Other departments and authorities represented on the group are LBJ Hospital, ASPA, ASTCA, Treasury, Budget, Human Resources, along with Paul Young of the Governor’s Office, Solip Hong-Chairman of the Fisheries Task Force and Fisheries Task Force member -Taotasi Archie Soliai.

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