Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has rubbished warnings from the Opposition Party saying there is never enough money to operate the country, especially for development.
Speaking to the media last week, Tuilaepa said the government cannot do away with overseas grants because they are needed to finance big developments for the country.
He pointed out that is the reason why Samoa will not be like the olden days when they ate chicken bones (pakua moa) that were used for fertilizer.
“Those views are wrong,” declared Tuilaepa.
“We are nowhere near having enough money. The way it is, you prioritise legal expenses to pay for loans. The reason why they should be prioritized is because this is where development of the country lies; including development of the people.”
Tuilaepa added legal expenses means loans from World Bank and other institution.
“That is why we won’t go back to how it was before the government (H.R.P.P.) took over.”
In his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Tuilaepa said revenue left will go towards expenses for programmes to finance the welfare of the people and pay for those who are working in the programmes. An example he used was the $689million budget last year when $595million was the calculation of $103m legal expenses, $478m for programme expenses and $14m for un-estimated expenditure put together.
“Funds for the country’s development need to be large because developments will increase the labour end where our children find employment like in the electricity sector, the building of bridges and construction of hospitals.”
He continued to explain that in terms of development, the total estimate was $189million but there was only $94million left when expenditure was taken away. If you look at it, that amount is not enough for the country, said Tuilaepa. But he recalls there was a $137million of overseas grants.
“Which means if it wasn’t for overseas grants, it would be just $551m income which would be short by $44million. It’s not enough and if you listen to their views, they are stupid.”
Tuilaepa said the ideas from the Opposition are nothing but a dream.
“No matter how big your dream is, it cannot be fulfilled unless there is enough money,” he said.
The Prime Minister admits if it wasn’t for the $551m overseas grants there would’ve been a shortfall of $44million in the budget.
He said if the government follow what the Opposition are asking for, it would be worse than the time before H.R.P.P. came into power.
“Not only would there be no savings and no revenue for the government, there would be no money to order food just like in the past when they supplied chicken bones (pogaivi pakua moa) that was used for fertilizer but Samoans ate it because Samoa had no money and it resulted in everything being short.”
As for calls from the Opposition that government advisory committees are a waste of time, Tuilaepa dismissed this.
“As I mentioned, those views are wrong - all the way to Sydney,” he said.
“I have explained the budget and it is clear that there is not enough money. If you look at the Opposition they have fallen (in numbers) to five M.P.s because I have been told the others don’t want to go back. They are embarrassed to be broadcast when I correct them and tell them how shallow the Opposition leader is.”
But Opposition leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II said he feels for Tuilaepa because he’s on his own.
During their weekly press conference this week, Palusalue said Tuilaepa never wants to be corrected because he doesn’t want to understand.
“He calls us mute and drunks because that’s how he feels. He doesn’t want to listen to us about how to better manage money because we see the millions in public money being wasted.
“He doesn’t have anything new. It’s all the same. But what we are suggesting are ways to improve the health system that remains the same, to solve why children don’t go to school at a young age and then on to university.” Palusalue said Tuilaepa is still living in the past whereas the Opposition’s clock goes past his time.