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Govt's outstanding payments to private sector reaches $5.8 million

Outstanding payments owed by the Government to the private sector has reached $5.8 million with the figure expected to grow.

This was confirmed by the Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer, Lemauga Hobart Vaai.

"We design the template, approved by [Government] and then we send it out to the private sector and with the information sent in, we compile and submit," said Lemauga.

"So for April, it reached about $5.8 million. That's a lot, and they're still coming in, and that's the most important thing."

The Samoa Chamber of Commerce last month requested the Government to clear outstanding payments owed to private businesses, as their operations get affected by the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

The Chamber's request made to the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti got a response from the Ministry's Chief Executive Officer, Leasiosiofaasisina Oscar Malielegaoi, who asked for a compilation of members’ full list of arrears owed by the Government for follow-up and clearance.

Samoa Chamber has the biggest register of businesses in Samoa, reaching almost 500 members.

Although it is not only Chamber members who are eligible to claim their outstandings owed by the Government, said Leasiosio.

Leasiosio says the Government is giving priority to these outstanding payments to be cleared before the end of the Financial Year in June. 

“I can confirm that [it is] payments owing to the private sector in general, not just members of Chamber have been given priority to be cleared before [the] close of [Financial Year],” he said. 

The Samoa Chamber is also in the process of collecting data from the private sector to be compiled and submitted to Government for urgent assistance through the upcoming annual budget.

"The Government has requested for additional quantitative data on the impact COVID-19 has had on our business community in terms of our employment and wage data.

"This information will be used to support our ongoing submission to the Government for urgent assistance to the business community through the upcoming Annual Budget. It is important that all our submissions are evidence-based, so your participation is crucial."

It is the third survey conducted by the organisation to gauge the impacts of the COVID-19 on the business community. 

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