Earnings and cost of living, there should be a balance

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou ,

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PAYS REMAIN THE SAME AND COST OF LIVING INCREASES: Fa’asalele Tautai, 51, from the village of Falelauniu-tai

PAYS REMAIN THE SAME AND COST OF LIVING INCREASES: Fa’asalele Tautai, 51, from the village of Falelauniu-tai

Many in the working class can relate to the excitement of receiving your weekly pay only to realize that it’s nowhere close to being enough to cover everything that’s needed.

According to Fa’asalele Tautai, from the village of Falelauniu-tai, the problem is that there is an imbalance between what we earn and the cost of living.

He says it’s hard to live when the people’s wages remain the same while the cost of living increases to alarming rates.

Fa’asalele explained that there is always so much to spend our money on within a Samoan family even though we have no money to spend.

“Life is getting quite expensive nowadays,” he told the Village Voice.

“We have so many different things that we need to spend money on and yet many of our people don’t even make that much money.

“It’s common to find families with one or no family members working. Just imagine how much they struggle; they won’t be able to afford many things in life?

“We have children to put through school and families to feed; we can’t live on our plantations alone.”

Fa’asalele requested that the government take a look into the pay people are getting.

“My only plea to them is to raise the minimum wage in Samoa,” he said.

“Or drop prices of basic things that families need. There needs to be a balance in the money we make and the cost of living. If costs are so much bigger than pay, then people will suffer.

“In my village, many people suffer because people have to pay off their land, put their children through school, pay different bills and then take care of their family’s basic needs.

“I have a steady job but to be honest, the pay I get is nowhere close to being enough for everything my family needs.”

Other than the problem with money, Faasalele says there are other minor issues in his village.

“We have problems such as water cuts but the major problem is money,” he said.

“When I get my pay I put aside some for the bills, some for the loans, some for the children’s schooling and we are left with nothing.

“Living like this isn’t easy.”

But optimistically, Fa’asalele says that life in general is great.

“So yes, that’s where I and some other villagers stand in life,” he said.

“We can always get food from our plantation and other things so we are ok with that, I guess the only thing we struggle with is money; and it’s hard to live without money.

“I have been living in the village for seven years and we moved from Savaii to this village so we could have more opportunities.

“Money is what we struggle with but we are doing very well with everything else. We have water (most of the time), electricity and other basic things in life.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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