No grants for flood-struck businesses

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance, Leasiosiofa’asisina Oscar Malielegaoi, says the Government will not provide financial assistance to small businesses devastated by last Friday's flooding.

Instead, he said the Government is offering assistance by way of fixing damaged infrastructure in the affected areas, the drainage system on the main Vaea Street in Apia, to enable the businesses to operate.

Leasiosio believes the Government has been generous with two stimulus packages for COVID-19. Such assistance was provided through the reduction of loan interest to all commercial banks to the tune of $3.9 million among other subsidies for electricity and water bills for the private sector. 

Another benefit that the C.E.O. noted was the assistance recently distributed for people whose employment was affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

“That benefits everyone and if you as a business put on your household hat you will benefit from that,” he added. 

Leasiosio stressed that the country is still under state of emergency orders and continuing its work on preventative measures. 

The head of the Ministry of Finance also emphasised that the Government has been helping the tourism industry, by allowing some facilities to be used as quarantine sites, with the Government spending more than $10 million on it.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, Lemauga Hobart Vaai said they have not calculated the costs from the flash floods.  In a recent interview, he said their main focus was to clean up facilities so businesseses can make the most of festive season shopping. 

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