Govt. injects $250,000 support for private sector
The Government has presented $250,000 to twelve Private Sector Organisations (P.S.O.), to help them absorb the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The grants range from $50,000 being the maximum to a minimum of $4,000. The assistance is part of an annual Government’s grant for administrative support. A handover ceremony took place at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour’s (M.C.I.L.) headquarters on Tuesday.
The Minister for M.C.I.L., Lautafi Fio Purcell, said the grant is part of Government’s continuous commitment to strengthening the public-private sector partnership as well as assisting in the development of the private sector.
Lautafi says that during these challenging times where COVID-19 has severely affected the world economy, the P.S.O. grant is crucial.
“This is the fifth year since Government has offered support; we saw the need that these small businesses faced difficulties in terms of having access to finance,” he said.
He added that it is a small assistance to develop the administration part of the business.
“Samoa Chamber of Commerce has the highest funding because they meet all the criteria but they look after a lot of industries and businesses under its wing.
“We wish could give more but it’s the reaction of the people that determines that these funds is useful and utilised properly that’s why we ask for financial reports for transparency.
“I wish we could triple the amount especially now but they are also getting assistance through the stimulus package.”
The M.C.I.L. Minister also stressed that all these organisations support tourism because it is comprised of farmers, handicrafts makers, and manufacturers and everyone is affected by the lack of tourists right now.
Lautafi reminded the P.S.O.s of their obligation to comply with the requirements of the Grant as failure to do so will have a bearing on their request for further assistance in the current financial year.
He also encouraged continuous partnership between the public and private sectors and also acknowledged the contribution of the Private Sector to the economy of Samoa through stimulation of economic prosperity and employment creation.
The President of the Samoa Hotels Association, Tupai Saleimoa Vaai said that they are very fortunate and appreciative of Government’s continuous support.
“It is because when you run associations, trying to bring a big group together especially business people, it is not easy.
“The assistance does go a long way in terms of helping out with the administration, offices, that is where predominantly funds will be used.
“It does not go directly to the members but it goes to the administration in enabling every private sector organisation in terms of what they do through advocacy, attending of most consultations, and try and bring the whole industry with.”
He added that from the tourism industry it is the most appreciated assistance so far, considering the hardships faced by the industry.
“It is a great opportunity for the association to have a look at what we should prioritise and so far we have 121 members.”
The eligible organisations are those with commercial affiliations and are registered with M.C.I.L. under the Incorporated Societies legislation. There are a set of criteria and a number of factors to be considered in determining the amount of grant to be awarded to each organisation, such as registered membership, established office, and most importantly the submission of audited financial accounts and strategic plans as well as the progress of development projects.
The private organisations that received assistance include:
Samoa Chamber of Commerce Incorporated - $50,000;
Women in Business Development Incorporated - $45,000;
Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters Incorporated - $40,000;
Samoa Hotels Association - $35,000;
Business of Salafai Association - $20,000;
Samoa Federated Farmers Incorporated - $12,000;
Savaii Samoa Tourism Association - $12,000;
Small Business Association of Samoa Arts and Handicrafts Incorporated - $10,000;
Samoa Banana Farmers Association Inc. - $9,000;
Samoa Mamanu Designs and Manufacturers Association - $7,000;
Samoa Farmers Association Inc. - $6,000;
Tautai Samoa Association Incorporated - $4,000.