Govt’s revenue man contented by Ministry’s success

The Minister of Revenue, Prisons and Rehabilitation Services, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, is a man with a vision firmly set on the future.

Halfway through the current Parliamentary sitting, the 2021 General election is not far from his mind. 

During an interview with the Weekend Observer, he confirmed that he would always be loyal to the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.). 

But the future, he admits, depends on the work that is being done now. When it comes to the performance of the Ministry of Revenue, Tialavea is contented.

“The revenue has been increasing. We recorded $7 million surplus in the first six months of the last financial year. Last year we collected about $506 million, and that’s a record to get over half a billion,” Tialavea said. 

“Last (financial) year we didn’t get our target of $521 million because the previous year was $480 million and they increased $35 million for us to reach, which is impossible and that was the highest target ever, than we failed, we only collected $14 million.

“This financial year 2018/19 we have to collect $524 million, that’s the target from the Treasurer. So far, for the last seven months, it’s $13 million surplus.

“Hopefully the next five months we can collect and meet the target and get a surplus because if we are short, then the budget for next financial year, we will have to look for something for the long term to fulfill the 2018/19 budget.”

Tialavea commended the work carried out by his team and their contribution to the success of the Ministry.   

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“My C.E.O. was appointed the same time as me, the deputy and all the workers up to the tea lady they all contribute, so I am just sitting here and they are doing the work. All the work is because of them,” he said.

“I appreciate what my Ministry is doing, even the taxing of faifeaus (church Ministers). It’s not an easy task for us, and with my staff, over 50 percent are E.F.K.S. members. I really feel sorry for them, but it’s not us, it’s not our law, it’s Parliament’s law. 

“We have to do what the law says, otherwise we’ll just have to go out the door and go home, if we fail. 

“If you see me standing bold on the church, it’s because of the law, and if we don’t do what the law says, then me, the C.E.O. and everybody should resign and go home, and let somebody else come and do the work.” 

Customs is the highest revenue earner, it collects about $300 million a year and increasing. Revenue for the last financial year $190 million and they’re increasing too, Tialavea said.  

Looking back, Tialavea said he has enjoyed his journey as a politician.

 “I joined H.R.P.P. when it started and I became an H.R.P.P. member ever since. I have a bad attitude of not changing things. If I am committed to something, then I stay with it,” he said.  

“If you do something that you think is right and after three months you see it’s not right, you have to have the courage to change it again, otherwise you have to resign, leave the portfolio and go home. 

“And if I ever think that a time that I can’t instruct the C.E.O. because I am afraid of her, I have to go out the door, but that’s my attitude and foundation.”

Tialavea said if he returns as a Member of Parliament then it’s good because Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi selects the Ministers. 

“But as Minister, there are a lot of other people who can do the same job as me,” he said. 

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