Water tank project suspension affecting business

The temporary suspension of the Civil Society Support Programme (C.S.S.P.) has also had an impact on a local business that supplies goods and services to the Government and donor-supported project.

The CSSP village water tank project – which has assisted thousands of families in Samoa and given them access to clean drinking water – was suspended over two months ago after the Government instituted an investigation, in response to a stakeholder complaint.

The managing director of local company Tank Guy, Auga Farrell Craig, told the Samoa Observer that the temporary suspension is affecting his business as the "Government is our biggest client".

 “Not many families or other organisations buy water tanks everyday,” Auga said, in response to an email from this newspaper. 

“The investment our company has put into to develop and build our industry is huge."

"The impact on the vulnerable families out there – that are still without water and have been waiting for a long time – is the sad side of this action by Government.” 

He did not say how much the company has invested in the industry and if the company has incurred any losses since the suspension. However, he confirmed his company was advised by the C.S.S.P. on the temporary suspension of the project, due to a written complaint by another water tank manufacturing company. 

“I cannot confirm what the complaint is about as I do not have a copy of the written complaint but from what I have been told is about.”

Auga suspects the complaint is about alleged favouritism targeting certain suppliers of the project, but he is yet to hear from anyone in Government on the matter. 

“It is now being over two months since the suspension and still no word,” he said, while indicating he met two weeks ago with the Ministry of Finance CEO, Leasiosio Oscar Malielegaoi. Leasiosio is also head of the CSSP steering committee.

“However, I did meet with the C.E.O. of Ministry of Finance Leasiosio Oscar Malielegaoi also the Head of the Steering Committee for C.S.S.P. about two weeks ago and was told that they are still looking into it. 

“I asked if there is anything we can assist with the investigation and what the complaint is about and was told no.” 

John Bellinger, who is the CEO of another water tank supplier Samoa Superior Poly Products Ltd, was also contacted for comment. He did not want to say anything further, other than expressing the need for the Government to complete its investigation, and reaching an outcome.  

The managing director of the Rotomould Samoa water tank company, Fred Yazdani, declined to comment when contacted by this newspaper. 

Leasiosio confirmed that the project is being suspended temporarily in an email to this newspaper. 

“I wish to confirm we have suspended temporarily our C.S.S.P. water tank projects. We have received complaints and are now investigating these complaints. We will issue a press release in due course.”

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