It’s official. Pauli Prince Suhren is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.).
This was confirmed by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, yesterday.
The Prime Minister told the media that Cabinet has approved the appointment.
Pauli will take over from the incumbent C.E.O, Faumuina Esther Lameko-Poutoa, who has held the post for three terms.
Tuilaepa said he is confident the government has picked the right person to continue the work.
“He is a big fish (laui’a),” said Tuilaepa. “Just as it was with the woman who held the position; she is also a big fish (laui’a).”
According to the Prime Minister, the outgoing C.E.O had indicated to the Selection Panel she did not wish re-apply for the position and that she was looking elsewhere.
Tuilaepa also wanted to clear the air that the appointment of a new C.E.O has nothing to do with some of the issues that had been raised recently, questioning the work of the S.N.P.F and their lending process.
“Most people tend to think like that. But that’s not the real case,” he said.
“Most people blame the C.E.O. whenever something goes wrong. Yes it is true that most decisions are made with recommendations from the C.E.O. but it always depends on the Board members for the final decision.
“And that is why you don’t have to blame the C.E.O all the time.
“The Board members will then present the recommendations to Cabinet. So if anything goes wrong, it is wrong to point fingers at the C.E.O.”
That said, Tuilaepa again launched at attack on the Samoa Observer’s reporting of loans to foreigners.
“They only reported on a particular loan that was given to a Chinese business,” he said.
“But they should’ve asked the question of who is going to benefit from it. These Chinese businesses are providing job opportunities for our people.
“The other thing is, they should’ve asked whether our people are loaning money from S.N.P.F as well.
“The answer to that is simple; yes our people are also loaning money from S.N.P.F. The problem is that most of people think that they can get a million tala loan when they can only afford to pay a $1,000 tala loan. That’s not how it works.”
Tuilaepa said the public should look at the bigger picture.
“They (Samoa Observer) should’ve looked at all the local businesses who are loaning money from the S.N.P.F, not just the Chinese.
“But the motive behind the stories is not good, it seems like it was written in a jealous manner to stir up trouble. They should’ve looked beyond what’s happening.”
Tuilaepa said he is confident that good will come out of all of this.
“These are all for the betterment of our country. We will now put the market into good use and we will definitely earn more money from it than what was happening before.
“As I said before, the Samoa Land Corporation only made $23,000 per year from the Vaitele market, but they will now make a quarter million ($250,000) a year.
“It will also be good for competition, and when we have competition, the prices of goods will drop down.
“If you go to these Chinese Shops, they are always crowded by Samoans.
“These are the people with low income, not the ones with a lot of money. They go there because they can buy of lot of things with only $10 not like the other shops.”
Nevertheless, one of the main concerns raised in relations to S.N.P.F’s lending process is the fear that these foreign investors might run away with our money.
To which Tuilaepa replied that no such thing would ever happen.
“That’s a silly idea,” he said. “The people in charge of S.N.P.F are not stupid. They are all smart.
“The first thing we look at when someone loans money is security, we look at all the assets that can cover the loan. That is why I said before that this paper (Observer) should hire people with big brains to write their stories.”