Public debt falls to $1.01 billion

As of mid-last year, the nation's public debt fell marginally to reach $1.01 billion while debt servicing obligations also slightly increased, new figures show.

The debt was overwhelmingly composed of foreign loans: $1 billion worth of external debt, with the remainder domestic loans. 

“The total public outstanding debt decreased by 4.4 [percent] compared to June 2019 $1.06 billion," the Ministry of Finance's unreleased annual report for the last fiscal year states.

“The debt portfolio by instruments consists of 99.98% loans and 0.02% Government bond. 

“The total debt to GDP ratio at end of June 2020 was 46.8 percent slightly decreased from 47.6 percent ratio at end of June 2019.” 

“[The] creditor composition of total outstanding debt as at end of June 2020 shows that Export-Import Bank of China of People's Republic of China 37 percent, International Development Association (I.D.A.) 29 percent, Asia Development Bank 22 percent are the main creditors in the portfolio, with Japan International Cooperation Agency: 9 percent, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries: 2 percent, Unit Trust of Samoa 1 percent, and other creditors with less than one percent.  

“The share of EXIM Bank of [China] decreased from 39 percent but I.D.A. increased from 26 percent but other creditors’ composition remain relatively the same when compared to June 2019.” 

Debt service obligations for the year ending in June 2020 were $85.6 million, an annual increase of 4.8 per cent compared to the year-ending in June 2019, when they amounted to $ 81.7million. 

“The total debt service paid for external debt service is about 91 percent and 9 percent for domestic debt service.

“The Government debt portfolio is mainly on highly concessional terms from the foreign countries and multilateral institutions.” 

State-owned enterprises' debts as at the end of June 2020 were $185.2 million, an annualised increase of 1.7 per cent.

“The outstanding amount consisted of explicit contingent liabilities of $160.5million and implicit contingent liabilities of $24.7million," the report stated. 

“In addition, Government on-lending to the S.O.E.s with outstanding balance of $126.4million at end of June 2020. 

Total Government guarantees issued and outstanding at the end of June 2020 was $160.5 million, decreased by 1.2 percent when compared to June 2019 $ 162.5 million.” 

The report further noted Samoa remains classed as being at high risk of external and overall public debt distress, following an assessment by the International Monitoring Fund (I.M.F.) in April 2020, citing the country's high vulnerability to natural disasters and the impact of COVID-19. 

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