The Chamber of Commerce has re-elected Tuala Pat Leota as President.
The appointment was made during the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting held at Taumeasina Island Resort on Monday night.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Tuala, who is an accountant by profession, said he is humbled by the Chamber’s faith in him to continue.
“We’re trying to look for opportunities for business and business creation and to make make sure the cost of doing business is quite low so we can encourage more business in Samoa,” Tuala told the Samoa Observer.
The President said there are a number challenges faced by the business community in Samoa.
The government’s review of its tax laws is one of them, especially if in the end they decide to increase taxes.
“Right now, we don’t agree with any increase,” he said. “We’re asking the government to fix any inefficiencies. If you increase any rate, the people that are paying right now will be the same ones paying the increase.”
For instance, Tuala said not all businesses are complying with the requirement to pay taxes.
“If they can fix any inefficiencies within the Ministry that will capture any businesses that are not paying, once they pay, everyone will pay their share of the tax.”
Tuala said they have been in consultation with the government about the issue.
“The government has invited the Chamber to be part of their Committee review. We gave them our view. It will be interesting to see what they will agree on and what they wont agree on.
“But I’m confident that whatever final solution we concede to will benefit us all.
“We can’t expect to get everything and they also have their own expectations but we have our own needs.
I’m sure we will have some compromise.”
Tuala was also asked about the impact of the likely closure of the Matautu Wharf for the installation of the Samoa Submarine Cable.
“That is a new issue. We’re working with the stakeholders involved, the shipping companies and suppliers who are ordering those shipments.
“We’re trying to mitigate any big negative that might arise into the wharf being used for the Samoa Submarine Cable.”
As for the future, Leota said there are challenges but he is confident that if everyone works together, positive results will come.
President: Tuala Pat Leota.
New Vice President: Jennifer Fruean
Treasurer: Seulupe Michelle Macdonald
Secretary: Lauaki Jason Annandale
Elected Council Members: Asiata Alex Brunt, Papali’i Leslie Petaia and Nadia Meredith Hunt.
Past Presidents: Namulauulu Leota Sami Leota, Tupai Klaus Jnr Stunzner and Tuiloma Sina Retzlaff
Private Sector Organization Reps: Sheree Stehlin (W.I.B.D.I), Tauiliili Alise Stunnenberg (Samoa For Real), Taunese Tuiletufuga Purvis (Business of Salafai Association)
Outgoing council member: Petra Suhren-Chan Tung and Nynette Sass