Govt. reallocates travel expenses budget

More than $2 million intended to fund travel expenses for several Government Ministries, that were not used due to border restrictions, has been reallocated to fund other key infrastructure projects. 

The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti revealed the reallocation of travel expenses in Parliament when he tabled the $42.2 million for the first supplementary budget. 

Sili said all travel costs allocated to several Government ministries have been removed and reallocated to finance the priorities under the budget. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the largest travel expenses, recorded at $744,532. 

Other Government Ministries that had their travel costs reallocated include the Office of the Auditor General, Samoa Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour), Ministry of Communication, Ministry of Health, Law Reform Commission, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Office of the Ombudsman, Prison, Ministry of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Police, Ministry for Revenue, Ministry for Works and Ministry of Women. 

A total of $2,573,340 is saved from the travel expenditures that does not include a separate $355,000 from the Ministry of Justice. 

According to the supplementary budget the fund from Ministry of Justice is from its savings pertaining to unspent travel costs for the ministry as well as remaining funds from completed contracts. 

The Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet also saved $417,000 identified as a result of a restructure of the Ministry as well as travel costs. 

In addition, the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture saved $187,000 from sports development efforts affected by pandemic as well as travel costs. 

In his budget address, Sili said a key contributor to continued growth within the economy are the large infrastructural projects of Government financed through grants from its development partners. 

“The Government of Samoa has requested that these projects continue to ensure job security and income generation opportunities for many but to also drive business activities that rely heavily on Government transactions,” he said. 

The Minister acknowledged that Government has concluded dialogues with the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank to initiate key development projects. 

He added this will contribute greatly to Samoa’s economic growth.

Those developments include the rehabilitation and expansion of the cross-island road, continued extension and improved resilience of the West Coast Road, the Alaoa multipurpose dam as well as other current projected affected by border restrictions. 

“It is the intention of the Government currently at the helm of this nation to place priority upon key developments that are conducive to high economic growth which should secure an improved quality of life for its citizens,” said Sili. 

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