Govt. pays outstanding debt to private sector

The Ministry of Finance has taken to social media to ask nearly four hundred businesses and individuals to collect their money.

They money is owed to them after the Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged Government to clear its debts and help the private sector during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Facebook, M.O.F. posted a list of approximately 375 names that are entitled to ‘unpresented cheques’ and should come to the Ministry and collect their money. 

Every Government ministry is involved making sure outstanding payments are made.

The release comes just weeks after the Chamber of Commerce asked its members to tell them how much Government owed them, in order to pressure leadership to release the funds. 

Chamber Chief Executive Officer, Leumauga Hobart Vaai, said there are still businesses coming forward with what they are owed, but by early May he had counted $5.8 million in outstanding debt.

To resolve the matter, M.O.F. Chief Executive Officer Leasiosiofaasisina Oscar Malielegaoi asked Lemauga for a compilation of members’ full list of arrears owed by the Government for follow-up and clearance.

Leasiosio says the Government is giving priority to these and to non-Chamber member 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.

Among the names of unpaid businesses or individuals are former Samoa Tourism Authority Matatamalii Sonja Hunter, the Tamauu Salelogoa Rugby Union, Vaiula Beach Fales and nurse organisation Tausi Soifua Agency.

Papali'i Grant Percival was also on the list, and told the Samoa Observer his payment had been outstanding since 2017. 

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