Statistics Bureau spends $10,500 on rental cars for census survey

The Samoa Bureau of Statistics spent $10,500 to rent vans to roll out the census and national identification project.

This was to allow the large fleet of Government vehicles to be used to transport repatriated citizens to their quarantine sites.

The expense was confirmed by S.B.S. Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Papali'i Benjamin Sila, who said that for one week, the agency had to rent 10 vans for a week from Reef Rentals while they waited for Government-owned vehicles to be freed up.

Reef Rentals provided the vans at a cost of $150 per day for seven days, Papali'i said. 

The rental company declined to speak to the Samoa Observer about their work with S.B.S and referred questions from this newspaper to the Bureau instead.

S.B.S. required a large fleet of vehicles to carry out the census as their survey team visited nearly every home in Samoa to interview residents and tally the population. The census effort has lasted 10 weeks, and so far preliminary counting has revealed Samoa’s population has hit 212,000. 

From Thursday to Saturday last week S.B.S. established two sites for people to visit and register themselves for their national identification, and fill out the census survey form if they had missed the team visit to their home.

“We originally planned to use 20 vans for this activity but for the first week, we had to hire 10 vans as we only managed to get 10 vans from Ministries/Corporations and 1 [Pacific Games] van because the other P.G. vans were used for [Ministry of Health] quarantine sites,” Papali'i said.

“So given the fact that we needed 20 vans for 20 teams, we had to hire 10 vans (just for the first week) to make up the number until we managed to get the remaining 9 P.G. [vans] when repatriation flights were put on hold.

“We hired 10 vans from Reef Rentals on the basis that they provided the lowest daily van rates and they have a large fleet of vans.”

As well as the rented vans, the Bureau used 20 vans that were brought to Samoa for the 2019 Pacific Games, and 17 vehicles borrowed from other Government Ministries.

They used one Hiace van each from: the Samoa International Finance Authority, the Samoa Tourism Authority, and the Ministries of Women, Community and Social Development, Works Transport and Infrastructure, Communications and Information Technology, and Education Sports and Culture. 

They used two Hiace vans from the Ministry of Finance, and two of the Bureau’s own. 

M.C.I.L, the Ministries of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Justice and Courts Administration, the Central Bank of Samoa and the Samoa Land Corporation each lent S.B.S. a double cab pick up truck, and the Development Bank of Samoa lent two.

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