Samoa's public debt decreases to $1.08 billion — Finance Ministry

Samoa's public debt has decreased to $1.08 billion from $1.09 billion in the previous quarter as at December 2018.

This is equivalent to 49.8 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Ministry of Finance's Quarterly Public Debt Bulletin Issue No. 26 December 2018.

The Ministry-issued bulletin stated that the total amount outstanding comprised of public external debt of  $1.06 billion and public domestic debt of $0.02 billion. Total public debt decreased by 0.8 per cent and by 0.4 per cent when compared to the September 2018 and December 2017 quarters respectively.

The Samoa Government's main creditors were the Exim Bank of the Peoples Republic of China (38.8 per cent), International Development Association (25.8 per cent) and the Asian Development Bank (22.5 per cent). The State's other credits are the Japan International Cooperation Agency (8.3 per cent), OPEC Fund (2.2 per cent), Unit Trust of Samoa (1.7 per cent) and International Fund for Agriculture Development, European Investment Bank, Samoa Life Assurance Corporation and the Samoa National Provident Fund at less than 1 per cent.

In terms of the servicing of these debts, the Ministry-issued bulletin stated that up to December 2018 a total of $15.5 million was disbursed. These payments were for external debt servicing at $12.7 million and domestic debt servicing at $2.8 million. The amount for that quarter decreased by 40.2 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, when compared to September last year and December 2017 quarters.

For Government guarantees and lending, the total onlending outstanding at the end of December 2018 stood at $214.5 million. This amount decreased by 2.0 per cent and 9.1 per cent when compared to September 2018 and December 2017 quarters respectively. The Ministry-issued bulletin attributed the increase to disbursements for the "ongoing EPC, PSEP and SSCC submarine cable project. The Government on-lent to the Development Bank of Samoa (1.3 per cent), Unit Trust of Samoa (2.8 per cent), Samoa Submarine Cable Company (29.3 per cent) and the Electric Power Corporation (66.6 per cent). 

While total Government guarantees outstanding as at the end of December 2018 was $152 million. The amount decreased by 1.4 per cent and 0.7 per cent when compared to September 2018 and December 2017 quarters respectively.

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