The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour’s (M.C.I.L.) total expenditure in 2016/17 was $11.54 million tala.
“Of this amount, $650,000 tala was financial assistance to the Private Sector Organizations; $3.7 million tala was spent of outputs delivered by the Ministry (services) to the community and stakeholders and $2.23 million tala was spent on transactions on behalf of the State.”
This was revealed under the key highlights and achievements of the M.C.I.L. annual report for the period under review.
Furthermore, $1.98 million was spent on project development activities under the Trade, Commerce and Manufacturing Sector, while $115,000 million was spent on long service benefits of staff who have reached 10 or more years of service in the public service as well as allowances and ex-gratia payment for the former C.E.O. of the Ministry who had passed away in June 2016.
According to the report, $93,000 was received from receipts and charges for services offered by the Ministry on behalf of the Government, a $71,000 more than the revenue target for the financial year.
“This increase is largely from charges for services for foreign employment permits and registration of companies and intellectual properties.”
Other highlights in accordance with the annual report is that the review of the Trade Commerce and Manufacturing Sector Plan 2012-2016 was carried out by the Sector Unit bringing together all implementing agencies from the private and public sectors that are the driving force for the S.D.S. initiatives of revitalising exports and enabling business environment under the economic sector and that $1.98million tala of European Investment Funds, which was spent for Tier 1 and Tier 2 activities of the sector during the period under review.
“The Government, through the Ministry, has been working together with the Asian Development Bank through its Private Sector Support Development Initiative (P.S.D.I.) in providing a more enabled environment for business development such as easy access to finance.”
“The launching of the Personal Property Register in February 2017 provides the platform to encourage the use of personal properties such as motor vehicles and other movable properties to secure loans, thus improving access to credit.”
“Improved access to credit means new investments, business expansions, more employment opportunities and a better quality of life. The next chapter of this project will include review of the Companies Act 2001 and reforming other existing registers such as the Foreign Investment, business names register into online platforms.”
According to the annual report, the M.C.I.L’s ongoing monitoring and evaluation have shown that 85 percent of traders inspected have complied with the new metric units applied for trading purposes.
“All 23 petrol stations for both Upolu and Savaii were adjusted on a monthly basis. 91 percent of traders complied with trader obligations in the application of prices of goods under price control regulations.”
“Non-compliance was given warnings on the spot and was reminded of their obligations under the law.”
Approximately 68 percent of total population falls within the working age group (15-65years) whereas only 18 percent of total population is engaged in formal paid employment, with 67 percent male and 33 percent female.
“Given the relatively young working population, there is now an emphasis on supporting youth entrepreneurship and the development of micro and small-businesses. This is reflected in the new Samoa National Employment Policy as part of government’s effort to create decent employment opportunities for youth of Samoa,” according to the report.
Regarding the Decent Work Programme, Samoa has signed its S.D.W.C.P. with the International Labour Organization (I.L.O.) for the next four years.
“The S.D.W.C.P. reconfirms Samoa’s commitment through partnership with I.L.O., U.N. Agencies and development partners to promote decent work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“In December 2016, Samoa has completed its recent D.W.C.P. 2013-16 review, achieving 92 percent of its outcomes under its priorities.”
“The successful result was due to the close collaboration of the constituents of the S.N.T.F. (government, employers and employees) and stakeholders in knowing their commitment under the I.L.O. works that links and contributes to the economic development of Samoa as stated in the S.D.S.”
Other aspect of the highlights, the annual report says the professional services continued to be the sector the Ministry has received the highest number of applications specifically the consultancy services followed by the retailing (general merchandise) sector.
“For the period under review, 69 percent of foreign investment registered (74 in total) with the Ministry successfully commenced business operations. The study on the wholesaling sector is completed with the recommendation to including this sector as a reserved activity for Samoans.”
After ten years of operations under the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Seasonal Employment Unit has moved to its new permanent location within the Ministry.
“The government’s plan, through the sector, is to build Samoa’s potential to export services through the New Zealand Regional Seasonal Employment (R.S.E.) Scheme and the Australian Seasonal Workers Programme (S.W.P.).”
“A priority for services is certification and accreditation in order to capitalise on the international demand.”
“Additionally, there are multiple service avenues that have yet to be articulated in Samoa, for example sports and professional services.”
Regarding the three ONE M.C.I.L, awareness programmes were conducted during the reporting period; in Salelologa, Apia and Aleipata districts promoting the Ministry’s services and to gauge the community’s feedback on ways to improve the way the services were delivered.
“The Ministry, together with our close partners S.B.E.C., Immigration Services and Ministry for Revenue were part of our awareness and it was a successful joint programme. More similar awareness programmes will continue on in the new financial year targeting rural districts in both Upolu and Savaii,” says the annual report.