State entities urged to prioritise loan payment
State-owned enterprises such as the Electric Power Corporation and the Samoa Water Authority should prioritise payment for their loans before paying dividend to Government.
This was one of the recommendations highlighted in the Parliamentary Committee Report for First Supplementary Estimate 2018/2019.
The Committee made the suggestion when considering the supplementary appropriation of $32,644 for the Ministry of Public Enterprise.
“The Committee found dividends set out to be paid EPC of $2million and the SWA at $1million,” stated the report.
“These services and their impacts must be signified by the Government and the ministry, not the cost of living but the distribution of the service to the country."
“The Committee suggests that EPC and SWA must prioritise the using of its profits to pay its loans used for projects such as the Fiaga development, also the proper usage of the EU budget support for the distribution of clean water for the public.”
When the Minister was asked for a comment concerning the suggestion, Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang said the corporations are also required by the law to pay dividend to M.P.E.
“That is the thinking to ensure that other profit should commit to paying for loans,” he said.
“I did make a comment that we still need to pay for dividend and the remaining 65 per cent profit they get should service loans and do other works. Like for example L.T.A. I would rather they spend the money earned on fixing roads than paying to government for other ministries budget.”
Another matter raised in the supplementary estimate report, is a significant matter raised during the Committee’s consideration with the Ministry, is the revenue collected from dividends of SOE’s profits, where $4.1million is received to fund the First Supplementary.
The Ministry declared that revenues has increased highly, due to the collection of outstanding dividends from SOEs since 2015 until the financial 2018/2019.
The readjustment of dividends from 50 per cent to 35 per cent of trading bodies profits was also affirmed by the Ministry.