Minister slams criticism, saying "Govt. not poor"
Minister for Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, has slammed public comments that the Samoa Government “is poor and needs money”.
“That is a load of rubbish, wrong and stupid,” the Minister said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
He did not say where the public comments came from, but said he wanted to set the record straight.
“The Government is not poor! The Ministry for Revenue collected more than $500 million for financial year 2017-2018 and with these monies we are able to develop the country, infrastructure including roads, electricity and water to family homes and pay pensioners monthly,” he said.
The Ministry of Revenue’s Annual Report for the Financial Year 2017-2018 put their revenue collection at $507.6 million, making it the highest ever collected by the Government in a financial year. According to the report, customs collected $326.4 million while Inland Revenue collected $176.6 million respectively.
The Minister said the funds collected by the Ministry from taxes through Customs and Inland Revenue goes right back to the development of the country.
“The Government pays out millions for the pensioners, as well as overseas referral programmes for patients seeking medical treatment overseas, among other projects.
“Also was there ever a time any pensioner did not get their monthly allowance from the Government?
“Currently, the Government is connecting water to family homes in Aleisa, Faleasi’u and Fasito’o, something that has not happened before, and so for the public to say the government is poor is stupid and wrong.
"We are able to fulfill our goals and go through with our projects,” he added.
Tialavea stressed that the singled out projects are paid for by the Government and this is made possible through taxes.
“Although we do get grants and financial assistance, but we do pay back the remaining balance and we are able to do that,” the Minister said.