Chinese workers to arrive next month

A total of 80 Government-contracted labourers from China will arrive in Samoa at the end of next month to start work on delayed public development projects. 

A recently issued amendment to the country’s state of emergency regulations announced repatriation flights would be permitted to land in Samoa including from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, America and China. 

The changes, which are effective from 15 March to 11 of April, will allow repatriation flights originating from Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A., Europe, and China to land at Faleolo International Airport.

The flight from China will transport some 80 Government-contracted workers scheduled to arrive on 30 April. The workers will devote their time to Government development projects such as the Apia Wharf upgrade and the new Police Academy.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Apia, Zhang Muyue, told the Samoa Observer in response to queries that the charter flight had been initiated by the Samoa Ports Authority (S.P.A.).

“[It is] to bring in contracted workers of its port upgrade project. Details are still under discussion,” Ms. Muyue said.

“It is the shared wish of the two [Governments] that the charter flight could also bring in necessary personnel for China-aid development projects that have been delayed because of the pandemic, including the Samoa-China Friendship Park, Samoa Art and Cultural Center, 3 Primary Schools [among others].”

Several projects have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying travel restrictions. Ms. Muyue said she hoped they could resume as soon as possible to assist with the nation’s economic and social recovery from the global pandemic.

“The Embassy hopes that the start and resumption of those development projects could promote the economic and social recovery of Samoa in [a] post-pandemic era and bring tangible benefits to Samoan people,” she said.

In December it was reported that Chinese Government-funded projects earmarked for Samoa will continue to be delayed due to international border closures.

Projects such as the new Police Academy and primary school upgrades for St. Therese, Apia and Lepea were among those to be affected by the pandemic. 

Work on the Police Training Academy had yet to commence as engineers from China were not able to travel to Samoa due to the border closure.

The Shaanxi Construction Engineering Group Corporation has been chosen as the construction company for the Police Academy Project.

The three primary school projects also on hold are currently in the design phase of the project but the Chinese Government has already selected organisations to lead the design and supervision work. 

The Samoa Arts and Cultural Center and the Samoa-China Friendship Park have similarly been delayed. 

In December it was reported that the Samoa-China Friendship Park project was 85 per cent complete, while 95 per cent of the Samoa Arts and Cultural Centre had been constructed. 

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