Govt., China negotiate

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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TEMPORARY MARKET: Tents are going up where the market used to be.

TEMPORARY MARKET: Tents are going up where the market used to be.

The government is negotiating a multi-million-tala deal with China about the possibility of funding a 15-storey Central Government building at Savalalo, where the Flea Market was located.

The plan was confirmed by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, during his weekly session with the media. 

According to him, the government had been planning to build a 15-storey building at the location, years before the fire that destroyed the market two weeks ago.  

“We were planning to build the 15 storey building there so we are negotiating with China,” he said. 

“I was informed by the previous Ambassador of China that China had accepted ... so we are talking with China.”

The Prime Minister said the location is ideal for the plan.  

“Up until now, there are a number of government offices scattered all over the place,” he said. 

“What we are looking at is a Central government building. This will house most of the government departments and ministries.

“The idea is to make it convenient for people who who are travelling to Apia from the rural villages. We don’t want them to go from place to place to find the government departments. We want to make it easier for them to find all these departments in one building.”

A few years ago, the government revealed that the 15-storey building would likely cost $128million.

Asked if the proposal will go ahead now that the flea market has been demolished, Tuilaepa said a decision will be announced in due time.

He said the open set up of the temporary tents for the flea market has revealed just how ideal the location would become for a Central Government building.

In 2012, the there was talk about constructing a Finance Centre at the location. At the time, Finance Minister Faumuina Tiatia Liuga said ‘over a hundred big companies’ from overseas had indicated they will register with the center once it starts operating.

 “It will run as a stock exchange and at least one local company will be listed when the center is operational. S.I.F.A. (Samoa International Finance Authority) will also play a major role in this venture,” Faumuina said then.

 “We recently came back from a road show in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and other major cities in China. 

It was a fact finding mission to familiarize ourselves with the step-by-step set up of such a center.”

Immediate benefits from the financial center to the local economy, Faumuina said, includes huge foreign investment, job creation, corporate tourism and infrastructure development.

 “There will immediately be a proliferation of white collar employment opportunity for our young people, spinoffs to the tourism sector. Faumuina had revealed that the Centre would be funded by “investors from overseas.”

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