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Investors sought for Samoa Airways

The Government is considering plans to sell its shareholding in the national carrier Samoa Airways to the local business community.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi made the announcement on Monday in his Ministerial statement during debate on the 2020-2021 Budget.

Emphasising the importance of the Government’s Privatisation Policy, Tuilaepa said selling the airline’s original shares to local businesses will enable them to contribute to its operation, and is like a “capital injection” into the airline’s operations.

Other bigger airlines in other countries also get capital injections, he added. 

“There are investors who have expressed interest to hold shares in Samoa Airways,” he told Parliament. “It is good to bring in the business community so they can support the national carrier as opposed to rendering support to other Governments. 

“Speaker, there are thousands and thousands of different ways we can keep the Government thriving but the key thing is that people understand these policies.” 

Furthermore, Tuilaepa said the problem with the Government's efforts on development is that there is always criticism by people, who do not want to understand the benefits it has to offer to the people.

He then cited the right-hand drive switch, which he said led to a lot of criticism of the Government, when it benefited the country by bringing in affordable cars for families.  

Last week the Parliament heard that the national carrier is proposing another $30 million loan from the Unit Trust of Samoa to finance its plans to lease an aircraft. 

The U.T.O.S. Chief Executive Officer, Tevaga Viane Tagilima, clarified that the trust had already approved $15 million for the airline in 2018 and is proposing for another $15 million. 

U.T.O.S. is yet to approve the proposal from the airline which is currently without an aircraft. 

The MP for Anoama’a West, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo, later told the Parliament that Samoa Airways is negotiating to lease a five-year-old Boeing 737-800 from a Norwegian company.

The monthly cost of the aircraft lease is US$254,000 which is $678,000 tala, said the M.P. 

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