M.P. blasts Govt. over “poor planning”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s leadership has been questioned by Salega Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, over what he described as “poor planning” costing “millions” of taxpayer’s monies.
"Firstly there is the re-merge of the Ministry of Health and the National Health Services,” Olo said, adding the re-merge became necessarily because the separation “failed.”
“Then there was the establishment of the National Prosecution Office, separating it from the Attorney General’s Office. Again this failed because it was dissolved two years later.
“And the latest is the decision over the Traffic Division of the Land Transport Authority and the Planning and Urban Management Agency.”
According to Olo, the re-merging and continuous reshuffling of these Ministries and responsibilities are a sign of a weak government.
“It is costing the Government millions and these expenses will be carried by the taxpayers.”
Olo told the Samoa Observer this does not paint a good picture of the ruling Government.
“It tells me that Cabinet and its leader cannot conduct proper planning and they are not seeking expert advice to ensure the plans will be successful.
“When the Land Transport Authority was first established, there was a motion to create a Traffic division. I was against it, merely because it is not logical.
"The Ministry of Police already has a Traffic division. I warned there would be a duplication of work and having another traffic division will only cost more money.
“And now what? We are back to where it started and it was a stupid move in the first place. The Tuilaepa administration should have just hired more traffic officers for the Police service. It does not take a scientist to figure that out.”
According to the M.P., a lot of problems will arise from the transfer of traffic officers.
“The salaries for the traffic officers working for the Ministry of Police are much less than of the salaries for traffic officers with the L.T.A.
“Did Cabinet consider that before making these drastic changes? How will the Police and L.T.A. deal with the salary difference?”
The M.P. then turned his attention to the establishment of the National Prosecution Office in 2015.
“The N.P.O. was initiated by the Prime Minister. At the time, he noted a number of factors including the need to improve prosecution services and for prosecutions at all levels in Samoa to be conducted uniformly by one office.”
According to Olo, in 2014 legal consultants from the Commonwealth Secretariat were used to consider the need for a N.P.O.
“They sought opinions from various members of the public sector, the judiciary and the Samoa Law Society.
“In December 2014, upon the submission of a public proposal and policy, Cabinet endorsed the initiative, and in 2016 the government appointed a Director and a year later this office was dissolved.
“You tell me, how much money was spent on the consultation, the office equipment, the administrations, etc., yet, another loss,” said the M.P.
As for the Health re-merge, Olo reminded about the $30 million used to separate the two entities in 2007.
“Ten years later, the Government’s decision is to re-merge them. Since then, we’ve been told that some doctors and some support staff have submitted their resignations.
"The million dollar question is how much did it cost the government for the re-merge?”
Lastly, Olo zeroed in on the decision to being the Planning and Urban Management Agency (P.U.M.A.) from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment back to the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure.
“Again this was a stupid move in the first place,” he said.
“Timeframe given to the Ministries to heed the directive is quite minimal and illogical. It goes back to lack of planning by Cabinet Ministers, after all these changes have to be approved by Cabinet.”
It was not possible to get a comment from the Government at press time.