A 44-year-old father from the village of Malie is worried about the future of Samoa. Auimatagi Setu is especially concerned about the rate of developments being carried out by the government that could affect people.
“I’m not a well educated person in terms of the economy but looking at those developments like new roads, massive buildings, bridges that are funded by other countries, the question is, do we have to pay it back?” he said.
“From my little understanding, we will have to pay it back. But what happens when we can’t pay it back?
“Yes, our children will pay for it in the future and they will suffer for the rest of their lives.”
Personally, Setu believes it’s not worth it if it means future generations will suffer.
“The fact is; most of our people don’t understand the reality that we’re living with now. But we also have to use our common sense to figure out what life has waiting for us and our children in the coming years.”
He said the government needs to focus more on people rather than concrete blocks.
“The government is focusing more on development for their own sake instead of us. We are struggling.
“The number of unemployed people in this country is way up above the sky. What’s really sad is that no matter how hard we try to voice out what we believe, the government does it their own way.”
Setu said Samoa doesn’t need many of these white elephants.
“But they need to create more and more job opportunities for our people especially the students graduating from schools.
“The Yazaki Company is to close down soon and more than 700 employees will find themselves jobless.
“We all know that many families are relying on these employees for financial support but it looks like there’s no hope for many of them now.”
He feels this should be the time for the government to assure people.
“I’m not sure if they’ve already come up with a plan for these employees.
“Nowadays, we all need money to survive. That means we need jobs to survive – money talks.”
Auimatagi said finding ways to bring in more tourists would help.
“Nowadays, you see many empty hotels out there; some families end up staying in their own hotels because their businesses aren’t attracting enough tourists.
“These are real issues and the government should look into ways to improve and make proper strategic plans to bring in more tourists to Samoa.”
The father believes this is exactly why the cost of living has skyrocketed.
“Poor planning,” he said. “That’s the truth.”
According to Auimatagi, this is also why foreign debt has climbed.
“They’re using our money to pay for all these investments which are not for us but for their own good.”
Auimatagi sells chips on the streets for $1 and this is how he manages to fund for his family’s daily needs.
“To be honest all families in Samoa are struggling and my one (family) is no exception. That’s why I am doing this every day to raise my daughter and my family.
“She’s seven now and she’s still in school.
“I used to sit in front of one of the Chinese shops at Vaitele and sell chips everyday to earn whatever I could to finance my family’s basic needs.”
He said in Samoa, you don’t work to save for your family and your children future.
“You work to survive per day, because no matter how much I earn every day, and if I get $20 per day, that’s our food for one night.
“I hardly stretch that $20 to the next day, lucky I have relatives that I can depend on most of the times. This is why we have to stay together as families, to help and care for each other.”