Govt. urged to dispense $50 tala stimulus

The President of the Tautua Samoa Party, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele, has questioned the motive behind the Government's decision to not immediately dispense individual $50 tala payments from the second stimulus package, saying they were designed to help the country. 

Afualo was referring to money allocated for the national census, a process which involves providing $50 to each individual who registers. 

But speaking during a press conference, Afualo said $50 is supposed to be part of the stimulus package for COVID-19 which means the money should be given out to families without conditions. 

But he accused the Government of using the national census, through the Samoa Bureau of Statistics, to kill two birds with one stone.

“If [$50 tala] is intended to help the country during these difficult times then give them what they ought to have,” he said.

“I’m not saying that the national I.D. incentive is bad - it’s a good idea - but that shouldn’t be wrapped up with money that is intended to help our people.” 

Afualo added that the fund which is part of the second stimulus package is an aid that is intended for the public. He said that even the $50 tala is not enough to help many families and workers who have been made redundant due to impact of the covid-19 pandemic. 

The $50 tala paid to individuals who register for the national census identification is estimated to cost a total $12 million tala. Individuals will only be given the $50 tala once they go through the registration for the national ID. 

The national I.D. project started in 2017 with an external consultancy service engaged to provide assistance for developing the new system. 

However, in 2018 the Ministry of Finance sought further technical assistance to assist the Government in establishing a national ID system and to upgrade existing civil registration systems. 

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