In response to your editorial dated June 21, 2018 regarding “Budget, aid, cost of handouts,” I pose this question. What types of manufacturing jobs and products could Samoa foreseeably - in the long term – invest in given its natural resources, geographical location, historical cultural and political climate, natural disasters, etc.?
Every landowner in each political district of Samoa and Savai’i should take the time to ponder, reflect and answer this basic question.
The existence of foreign investors and foreign business owners operating in and flowing into Samoa/Savai’i should never deter the Samoan spirit.
If anything, the Samoan person should welcome the plethora of innovative designs to gain understanding and knowledge, engage in Q&A to sharpen the intellect, and create for the sake of longevity and sustainability.
Reflecting on the human encounter poses a list of challenging scenarios; equally challenging is the misconstrued notion that we, as a people of culture, must continuously depend on foreign aid for self- sufficiency and survival.
Capital investment is a required commodity/unit that should be utilized for structural development. This should be welcomed because it benefits the common good.
Other types of investments in forms of grants must be utilized for research and development to grow the economy. All these are basic ingredients of sound projectiles that should shape Samoa and thankfully it has to date; however, these foreign investments and aid should be capped immediately, and its ceilings sealed because Samoa has a volatile structure and weak economy base.
The next conjoining phase and one of significant importance is growing the exporting base. This is your lifeline as a people, culture, and self-governance. Samoa’s economy should be diverse and fluid to withstand capitulating. In other words, the economy’s broadband elasticity should be supported through manufacturing jobs and products and strengthening outputs.
Agriculture, weaving, tapestry and textile i.e. cultural wear, handbags, jewelry, upholstery, carpentry, fashion designs etc., military force & security (use as a service abroad), desalination plant (combine efforts with American Samoa and Manu’a), emergency tool kits and solar/hydro power plants are potential manufacturing concepts.
Every village district should come together and formulate a business plan that is conducive to their needs and the capacity within which they are able to perform.
This puts every abled body to work and contributing to Samoa’s economic growth. We must always remember that the strength and success of a flourishing economy is its workforce. The government should divest funds from useless programs or allocate a percentage of its approved budget for manufacturing jobs and products.
Further, naturally the Samoan spirit is welcoming and inviting, yet short-tempered and impulsive. Why is this important? Because through these psychological assessments, is a breakthrough into a world of creative imagination.
Your innate creative ability should expand your horizon to navigate the pursuits of your happiness and to envision endless possibilities. This has been made possible by human encounter with other cultures and exacting foreign demands as well as our own.
It is a blessing that must be tailored accordingly to our way of life and culture. Thankfully, the Samoan spirit is also one of strength, unity and family-driven, which makes it a force to be reckoned with, yet in constant need of reassurance and enforcement. As a people, we also tend to self-destruct and easily succumb to lethargy, which makes us vulnerable to numerous externalities, resulting in anxiety and hopelessness. We must always guard ourselves with prayer, discipline, hard work, and healthy eating to preserve a positive outlook. These are basic routines, but they are efficacious because it builds character – step by step.
Finally, Samoa needs to strengthen the tala currency by offering high interest rates to yield a favorable ROI; implement sound economic policies i.e. tight fiscal discipline and anti-inflationary monetary policies; and stability must be ascertained.
Your next plan of action should be a well-rounded composite consisting of the above-mentioned points coupled with transparency and accountability.
Each representative from the respective political districts should mount their plan of execution and advocate for change to better their communities.
Abundant blessings, Samoa!
Nafanua Salamasina Malia Seiuli So’o Muagututi’a