“Such a foolish claim”

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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IN PARLIAMENT YESTERDAY: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

IN PARLIAMENT YESTERDAY: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has rubbished claims that his administration is borrowing money to meet its loan repayments.

“It’s such a foolish claim,” he said.

Tuilaepa was speaking when Parliament reconvened at Tuana’imato yesterday for what will be their final session for this Parliamentary Sitting. 

The Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, will dissolve Parliament on Friday.

During yesterday’s session, Tuilaepa used a Ministerial statement to say he was alarmed by a “prophecy being blindly made by others saying that the government is making loans to pay back loans.”

He also rejected claims from the Tautua Samoa Party that foreign aid should not be included in the government’s budget. 

“It shows that they don’t understand these things,” Tuilaepa said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that it would be wrong for the government not to factor aid money into the budget because they are there to be used to develop Samoa.

In the Prime Minister’s $697million budget for example, Tuilaepa said $102million of it is aid. That leaves $595million; money which he assured Samoa has.

“There was no loan needed,” he said. 

“We had enough money as Cabinet was advised (by the Ministry of Finance). This was approved by Cabinet.”

To prove his point that the Tautua Samoa Party don’t understand what they are talking about, Tuilaepa also addressed the misconceptions about the Unforeseen Expenditure, which is three per cent of the budget.

 “Palusalue had said that we should use this for the fire (at Savalalo),” said Tuilaepa. “It has already been used and allocated to different Ministries.”

Tuilaepa said the money has been used to fund developments that were not included (in the budget) but were urgently needed by the government.

“That is where that money is used and I wanted to make this clear because it appears from the Opposition Leader’s statement that he does not understand.”

As for concerns about Samoa’s foreign debt of $1.4billion, Tuilaepa said there was nothing to be alarmed about. He reiterated that it is not the amount of the debt rather it was the country’s ability to pay that matters.

He also reminded that Samoa has plenty of foreign reserves and events such as the Rumble in Paradise last week to help keep the economy moving forward.

 “That is why last week’s fight was so important to promote Samoa and encourage people to visit Samoa,” he said.

“We won’t go back to how we used to be before H.R.P.P came into power. Back in those days people fought over a box of herring and some eventually died from fighting over it.”

Compared to today, Tuilaepa said people hardly eat herring.

At that point, Opposition Leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II, had enough.

He took the floor to move a motion to put aside the Ministerial statement to be discussed during the general debate. 

But Tuilaepa objected to the motion. 

Speaker of Parliament, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao, agreed with the Prime Minister. He said the ministerial statement was the government’s response to unfounded claims by the Opposition made outside Parliament.

Parliament continues.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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