PEOPLE OF 2020: So’oalo Kuresa So’oalo
So’oalo Kuresa So’oalo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Ports Authority (S.P.A.) was an example of excellence in public administration this year as the organisation’s profits skyrocketed.
So’oalo has overseen the organisation’s financial turnaround since he was first appointed to the post in 2017.
Since then S.P.A. profits have grown by $15 million since compared to the fiscal year prior to his take over when the Authority absorbed a $10 million loss.
A certified Chartered Accountant, So’oalo’s contract was renewed last month for another three years.
Prior to moving to the S.P.A., So’oalo was with Samoa Shipping Corporation where he served as the Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Finance for 15 years.
The son of So’oalo Taua Sepulona and Menime Ete So’oalo, So’oalo hails from Paia Samauga, Lalomalava, Fusi Safotulafai, Tuanaimato and Lepea.
During the 2014-2015 Financial Year the S.P.A. was in dire financial straits.
In 2015 the S.P.A. recorded a $10 million loss; two years before So’oalo came on board.
“Total income for the year amounted to $14,207,973 while operational expenditures amounted to $20,344,748 million after deducting depreciation of $3,922,637 million.
The net loss for the year is $10,059,412 million after depreciation.”
The following financial year, 2016-2017 the S.P.A. recorded a $6.98 million net profit.
In the 2018-2019, the S.P.A. ended that financial year financial on a high note, wiping its debts and bringing in a record profit of $8.69 million.
The figures are contained in an unpublished annual report into the Government agency’s fiscal performance for 2018-2019.
In the last three Financial Years, the Authority has contributed dividends totalling $9.5 million tala to the Government in the form of dividends.
In 2019, the Authority also paid off its $18 million term debt to the Unit Trust of Samoa, according to its annual report.
The Chairman of the S.P.A, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, commended So’oalo as well the organisation’s executive managers and staff for the milestone achievements.
Tuiloma noted the S.P.A. netted a record net profit of $8.69 million, something he attributes to corporate discipline and performance as well as a newly developed wharf and improved port systems.
Tuiloma also acknowledged the election of So’oalo as President of the Pacific Maritime Transport Alliance.
The Chief Executive Officer has previously said that internal controls were key to ensuring S.P.A. turned a profit over the past three years - as well as the dedication of its employees.
“It all comes down to hard working and honest staff,” said So’oalo in a previous interview.
Prior to moving over to the S.S.C., So’oalo worked for the ANZ bank for 14 years.
The former Vice President of the Samoa Institute of Accountants, So’oalo also previously served as the Chairman for Samoa Quality Broadcasting Limited, TV1.
A devoted member of the Catholic Church, he is married to Fonomua Makerita So’oalo and they have a son.
So’oalo started his education in Samauaga Primary School before moving to Leififi Intermediate School and then to Samoa College where he graduated in 1986.
He was also a student at the National University of Samoa where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Accounting.
So’oalo holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of the South Pacific.