Samoa Sports Facilities Authority under spotlight

Aquatic Center. (Photo: File)

APIA, 22 NOVEMBER 2018 (SAMOA OBSERVER) – The Samoa Sports Facilities Authority (SSFA) is in the spotlight following an assessment by the Ministry for Public Enterprise.

An assessment of the facilities under the care of the SSFA has revealed “poor management”, which led to the authority using a bank overdraft to fund its daily operations.

The assessment’s findings were highlighted in a letter by the Ministry for Public Enterprises Chief Executive Officer, Elita To’oala, which was included in the annual performance report for the year ending June 2018.

The letter—which was addressed to the Ministers for Private Enterprise and Finance and dated November 19, 2018—was copied to the Prime Minister, Minister for Education Sports and Culture, the SSFA chairman and the Chief Executive Officers for the SSFA and Ministry of Finance.

According to the performance report, a major challenge for the SSFA is the low occupancy of its facilities, which has led to low revenue—in the face of increasing maintenance costs.

“Also the performance report noted that SSFA is facing challenges on the directive from Cabinet to close down facilities, in preparations for the Pacific Games 2019.

“This will lead to temporarily closing down one by one of all those facilities that were generating revenue for the Authority. Even though this maybe a high risk on SSFA financially, but it will benefit the whole nation in hosting this regional event,” stated the performance report.

In relation to the finances of the SSFA, the authority had an overdraft facility of $56,757 for the 2018 financial year, which is a decrease of $66,274 from the previous year.

The performance report highlighted a drop in revenue from venues such as Gymnasium 1, Gymnasium 3, Aquatic Center and the Apia Park Stadium while revenue from the other facilities only contributed to maintenance cost and did not generate income.

The hockey stadium was transferred to the Ministry of Finance and is now used by the UNDP Mission in Samoa, while the netball gymnasium is no longer in use and suffered damage in the 2012 Cyclone Evans that will cost the Government $1.9 million.

The performance report recommended that the SSFA minimise maintenance costs on inactive facilities and non-core expenses and give priority to active facilities to assist its non-profitable business function.

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