Falealili East Member of Parliament, Fuimaono Te’o Samuelu, has urged the Government to increase the minimum wage.
He made the point in Parliament, during the discussion of the 2018/2019 Budget.
“I know that the cost for chicken as well as frozen food have increased, but the question is isn’t it time for the minimum wage to be increased too,” said Fuimaono.
“It’s been too long since the Government had a raise on the minimum wage.
“We should feel for the people of the country who are working and are facing this problem.
“I notice that if the people cannot afford to buy a pound of chicken in the evening, by now they don’t want to work anymore.
“This means they will turn to their plantation and they will start working on their plantation so that they can look after their family.
“But I am urging the Minister as well as the Government, isn’t it time to put a change to the minimum wage, have an increase so that our people will be able to afford the cost of chicken and be able to provide for their families.”
This is when Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi intervened.
“There are people whose responsibility is this,” he told Parliament.
“They are responsible in looking into the salaries of those who get paid daily but also the salaries of the government workers.
“They are well aware of what the Member of Parliament is asking.
“However, let me remind you that it is not an easy job because when it’s time for them to touch these things, they need to look at all the workers not only in the Government but Samoa as a whole.
“I can never forget the time when the salary for the government workers was at its lowest, and then we had to increase it by 40 percent, but government money at the time could not afford this increase.
“I am talking about the year 2006-2008 and at that time government workers were spread out because the salaries had been at its lowest.
“So we decided to increase it by 40 percent at the time so it could balance with the private sector because a lot of government workers left to go to the private sector because they get more from them than from the Government.
“But it’s always good to raise this issue because now I am standing in front of you and I tell you that those who are responsible are not sleeping.
“They are working on it and when they see that it is time to do that they will do it, but I will also have to give them a call and ask where their plan is and they will decide when the right time to make this change is.”
Parliament continues today.