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Diversification key to recovery, Minister Lautafi

The future of Samoa’s economy lies in diversifying its sources of import income and reforming its social protections.

That's the opinion of the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Lautafi Fio Purcell. Speaking to an international panel at the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O.) summit on the future of work after COVID-19, Lautafi emphasised that Samoa needs to move away from its dependence on tourism and remittances. 

The Minister also said the country must improve its policies on social welfare programmes. 

The tourism industry, which accounts for around a quarter of gross domestic product, and has been subject to mass layoffs and financial troubles during the coronavirus crisis, will need serious help to recover.

“The sector has emphasised the need for trained personnel to be available once they are in a position to rebuild. The human resource needs especially in key areas such as culinary and managerial staff will be essential for the recovery of hotels and resorts,” the Minister said.

He said the Government stimulus package has included funding for training in the tourism sector, as well as employee retention and redeployment measures to keep staff in their jobs or find meaningful work elsewhere in the industry.

Remittances from labour mobility schemes, particularly seasonal work in New Zealand and Australia have been a “success story” for Samoa, Lautafi said.

“Unfortunately, certainly around the schemes has been directly affected due to the closure of borders and impact on horticulture, viticulture and other sectors under these schemes.”


The future of Samoa’s economy lies in diversifying its sources of import income and reforming its social protections, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Labour Lautafi Fio Purcell has said.

Speaking to an international panel at the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O.) summit on the future of work after COVID-19, Lautafi emphasised that Samoa needs to move away from its dependence on tourism and remittances. The Minister also said the country must improve its policies on social welfare programmes. 

The tourism industry, which accounts for around a quarter of gross domestic product, and has been subject to mass layoffs and financial troubles during the coronavirus crisis, will need serious help to recover.

“The sector has emphasised the need for trained personnel to be available once they are in a position to rebuild. The human resource needs especially in key areas such as culinary and managerial staff will be essential for the recovery of hotels and resorts,” the Minister said.

He said the Government stimulus package has included funding for training in the tourism sector, as well as employee retention and redeployment measures to keep staff in their jobs or find meaningful work elsewhere in the industry.

Remittances from labour mobility schemes, particularly seasonal work in New Zealand and Australia have been a “success story” for Samoa, Lautafi said.

“Unfortunately, certainly around the schemes has been directly affected due to the closure of borders and impact on horticulture, viticulture and other sectors under these schemes.”

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