No Deputy Prime Minister a cost saving: whip
A move by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, not to appoint a replacement deputy will save taxpayers' money, his party whip has argued.
Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) Whip Alai’asa Sepulona Moananu says not appointing a Deputy Prime Minister was motivated in part by the lack of time left on the Parliamentary calendar.
“This will be a huge cost saving for the government, especially now we’re in the middle of the pandemic, we need all the available funds we can save for our preparations for the coronavirus,” Alai’asa said.
“These are some of the issues we considered prior to the resolution the Prime Minister will take on the portfolio that Fiame Naomi Mata'afa once held.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, revealed he will not be appointing a Deputy Prime Minister following the resignation of Fiame Naomi Mata'afa.
He said that he would take on both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister role, including overseeing the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority.
He said there are only a few remaining months in this Parliamentary sitting and with the coronavirus pandemic impact, he said the appointment of a Deputy Prime Minister is not urgent.
Alai’asa said appointing a new Deputy leader, means they will have to get a new car; office equipment will cost the Government close to $100,000 despite Parliament soon finishing ahead of the election in April.
“The H.R.P.P. supports the move not to appoint a new Deputy; it is after all the logic decision.”
The Prime Minister’s portfolio, according to the Government’s website now includes the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Public Service Commission; Legislative Assembly; Office of the Attorney General; Office of the Ombudsman; Samoa Law Reform Commission and Samoa Bureau of Statistics.
Alai’asa said the party is confident the Prime Minister is more than able to carry out the additional responsibilities.
“It’s evident that the Prime Minister’s strength to carry on the remaining term with additional responsibilities.
“The Prime Minister's physical and mental capacity is sharp to take on the new role for the few months left of the term,” said Alai’asa.
On Friday afternoon, Fiame resigned from her position of Deputy Prime Minister as a result of her concerns about three bills introduced to Parliament by the Government to make Land and Titles Court autonomous.
“The bills came from Cabinet and the truth is if I cannot support the legislation I have to tender my resignation,” she told the Samoa Observer.