Parliament passes budget

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa ,

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MINISTER OF FINANCE: Sili Epa Tuioti.

MINISTER OF FINANCE: Sili Epa Tuioti. (Photo: Misiona Simo/Samoa Observer)

The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti’s $932.92million budget for 2018/2019 was passed by Parliament last night.

The nod of approval was given after three days of budget debate where Parliament worked into the night to discuss the budget allocations.

Cabinet Ministers spent yesterday addressing the concerns raised by Members of Parliament in relation to developments within their constituencies.

In summing up, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi highlighted the importance of the development projects the Government has committed to carry out.

He reminded that since the H.R.P.P. came into power, Samoa has come a long way, socially and economically. 

He said Samoa was once among the poorest countries in the world but that has changed due to the Government’s commitment to improve the lives of members of the public.

Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa spoke about the importance of putting people first in terms of development. As Members of Parliament, they should always remember that their work is geared towards improving the prospects of the people they govern.

The Minister of Finance, Sili, tabled the budget under the theme “The Right Path” two weeks ago.

With total Revenues estimated at $849.48million, a deficit of $85.44million is forecasted. Sili said the Budget continues the Government’s commitment to improve the quality of life for all Samoans and continues its commitment to equity.

“There is positive optimism in the economy over the medium term,” Sili said during his budget address. 

“It means businesses will enjoy an environment that creates opportunities for them to grow and to help create jobs for our people. It also means there will be fiscal space for government to provide the services required by our people,” he said. 

 “But we should never lose sight of the fact that Samoa faces a number of risks. That underscores the need for the government to continue to put in place the policy framework that will ensure macroeconomic stability and fiscally responsible.”

 

Budget allocations

1. Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries

• $13.8million allocation that includes financing for the following:

• $228,500 to complete the taro, koko and coconut stimulus package;

• $150,000 for the Rhinoceros Beetle eradication project;

• $140,437 to continue to support the Agricultural Development Project which has now expanded to Savaii;

•  $60,000 for Coconut Replanting and Breadfruit propagation;

• $300,000 to support Women In Business Development Incorporated.

 

2. Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour

• $6.5million that includes:

• $450,000 to support funding the operations of the Small Business Enterprise Centre;

• $200,000 to support Private Sector Organizations;

• $178,000 for the Apprenticeship Program.

 

3. $11.96m to the Samoa Tourism Authority which includes:

• $5.4million to support targeted marketing and promotion efforts in priority markets;

• $442,000 for the annual Teuila Festival, Miss Samoa Pageant and the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant.

 

4. Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

• $8.7million including $5million for the management of the Samoa National Broadband Highway.

 

5. Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture

• $85.6million for the following priorities:

• $13.2million Government Grant to mission and public schools;

• $3.2million for the implementation of priorities under the Education Sector Plan;

• $1.1million for Village School Stationeries;

• $1million for the Teachers’ Higher Education Funding Scheme.

 

6. Ministry of Finance

•  $89.3million which includes the following priorities:

• $18.6million funding of the Senior Citizens’ Pension Scheme;

• $11million to assist preparations for the 2019 Pacific Games;

• $4million for lease costs of our overseas missions that include Canberra,  Mangere and Wellington;

• $2.8million lease on the DS3 ASH Cable;

• $7.4million Government counterpart contributions to the following key development projects: Faleolo Airport Runway Rehabilitation; West Coast Road Project; Vaisigano Bridge; Samoa EHealth; Samoa Ports Development Project; Police Academy; Cultural Center; Friendship Park.

 

7. Ministry for Revenue

• $13.2million includes $900,000 for a building to house the new container scanner machine to ensure strict customs border compliance at the Apia Port.

 

8. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

• $23.2million including costs for hosting the following regional events:

• Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting; Forum Trade Ministers’ Meeting; SAMOA Pathway Review; 6th ACP Fisheries and Agricultural Meeting.

 

9. Ministry of Health

• $11.75million including:

• $2.9million for the returning graduates orientation program;

• $400,000 support for affiliated clinics;

• $120,000 support for the Samoa Red Cross, Samoa Cancer Society and the Samoa Aids Foundation.

 

10. $80.1million to the National Health Services including the following priority expenditures:

• $6million for the Overseas Medical Treatment Scheme;

• $4.6million for the Lab Consumables;

• $4.5million for the Supply of Pharmaceuticals;

• $2.5million Pharmacy Medical Consumables;

• $1.6million for patient bulk food supplies.

 

11. $9.6million to the Ministry for Prisons that includes:

• $3.9million to complete Phase I and part of Phase II of the new Tanumalala Prison including road construction and water supply.

 

12. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

• $25.6million that includes:

• $2.5million to support works related to the Water for Life Sector Plan;

•$4.5million for Waste Management Contracts and other service maintenance contracts;

• $2.6million for Land Compensations.

 

13. Ministry for Works, Transport & Infrastructure

• $18.7million which includes:

• $2million each for C.S.O’s of the Samoa Water Authority and the Electric Power Corporation;

• $9.1million in assistance to the Samoa Water Authority;

• $910,325 for Aviation initiatives as part of the Safety and Security Levy framework.

 

14. $25.8million to the Land Transport Authority:

• $8.7million for the construction of new roads;

• $14million for routine and general maintenance of roads;

• $3.6million for drainages works under the Water for Life Sector Plan.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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