Govt. moves with Vaiusu Wharf plan

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong ,

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M.N.R.E C.E.O: Suluimalo Amataga Penaia.

M.N.R.E C.E.O: Suluimalo Amataga Penaia.

The government has moved to assess the environmental impact of its multi-million-tala proposed wharf at the Vaiusu Bay.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) has begun the Environment Impact Assessment (E.I.A), according to the  M.N.R.E’s Chief Executive Officer, Suluimalo Amataga Penaia.

 “The master plan for the wharf is completed but we are now working on our E.I.A.,” he told the Sunday Samoan. “The Board has already made its decision on the master plan.

“They believe it is suitable for the location in Vaiusu, especially the capacity to allow for the docking of Cruise Ships. The feasibility study has also been done.”

According to Suluimalo, they want to protect the environment as much as possible.

 “Our concern is the environment and that is why we had advised not to bury the mangroves but a road will be constructed to head to the wharf...we are working on the E.I.A. at the moment.”

A Technical Assistant Report on the Ports Development Master Plan from A.D.B. dated April 2015 says that an “improved port infrastructure will improve connectivity and boost economic development and poverty reduction”. 

The report points out that Samoa is at risk from the effect of climate change and geophysical hazards, which will affect maritime transport infrastructure.

 “A 2010 World Bank study estimated the present economic value of damage through 2050 resulting from climate change in the absence of additional adaptive measures to be US$104 million to US$212 million over the same period in Samoa,” says the A.D.B. report.

“A study conducted by the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (P.R.I.F) recommended that S.P.A’s financial position be improved by (i) reducing its debt through a short-term subsidy from the government and sale of nonrevenue-generating assets, (ii) reviewing tariffs through benchmarking against other Pacific ports and adjusting container storage charges, (iii) recommending reforms to enable full private sector participation in port services, (iv) increasing land and property rentals, (v) reducing fixed and variable costs through organizational restructuring, and (vi) preparing a ports master plan.”

According to the report, operating revenue from the newly constructed assets do not cover direct operating expenses and debt finance repayments. 

“S.P.A’s consolidated financial results in 2012 reported a loss of ST2.28 million with a turnover of SAT$12 million,” the report says.

“The government has also identified as a priority the development of a proposed new port at a green-field site at Vaiusu Bay. The government has also entered into preliminary agreements with private tuna processing companies to occupy the existing container yard and warehouse space at Matautu Port for tuna loining.

The construction of new tuna processing plants will limit the container yard space, which could impact the port’s container throughput and port productivity. Moreover, the introduction of tuna processing could lead to berth congestion, as fishing vessels occupy the port’s berthing facilities to discharge their catch.” 

The Technical Assistance from A.D.B. is estimated to cost US$550,000, of which US$500,000 will be financed on a grant basis by A.D.B’s Technical Assistance Special Fund (T.A.S.F). 

The government will provide counterpart support in the form of counterpart staff, office accommodation, and other in-kind contributions.  

© Samoa Observer 2016

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