Delays plaguing S.N.P.F.'s multi-million tala Savai'i office
The official opening of a multi-million tala state-of-the-art office complex for the Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F) in Savai'i has been delayed again.
Located at Salelologa near the market, the groundbreaking ceremony for the project took place on the 15 of May last year; the construction work was initially set to be completed in January this year. The total project budget was $7.8 million.
An architectural impression of what the project was expected to look like upon completion was placed online in July 2020 but the image has since been taken down.
The building is a two-storey office block.
But it has been plagued by delays and was nowhere near completion by the end of January.
However, in March this year, the now caretaker Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, told the Samoa Observer that the project would be completed by the end of April or at the beginning of May this year.
Sili blamed the closure of international borders for the delay.
He told the Samoa Observer that the supply of materials and equipment needed to complete the project had been greatly affected.
"The main reason there has been a delay in getting some of the essential materials needed for the construction work of the project is the closure of our borders," Sili said in March.
"So realistically, we are looking at the end of April or the beginning of May, depending on when we get the resources from Europe.
"So we are waiting for the resources to arrive, then it will be quicker for the workers to finish and complete the work."
According to Sili, they were hoping to officially open the S.N.P.F. office in Savai'i by February this year.
"But some things are out of our control and we hope that the international borders will sort of open soon and the materials needed will arrive in the country so we can finish the construction work.
"We are disappointed that it got delayed, but we are hoping that we will open soon."
Sili said the project was still on track financially.
"We may not be on track with the plan we initially had for the timeframe of the work and the opening date, but financially, we are still on track.
"The work is still on budget and there will be no additional cost to the work that is carried out."
At the groundbreaking ceremony of the work in May 2020, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said the need for the S.N.P.F to have a Savai'i office is critical.
"The Samoa National Provident Fund was established some 48 years ago in 1972 when the Government saw the need for our people to have an avenue to save money for retirement," he said at the time.
The Fund, according to Tuilaepa, has grown from humble beginnings to a financial vehicle controlling assets in excess of $815 million.
"However, there has been one thing that has been missing all along and that is the fact that S.N.P.F. has never, in its long history, owned an office of its own in Savai'i," he added.
Calls to the caretaker Minister, Sili Epa for an update on the project were unsuccessful.
An email sent out to the Chief Executive Officer of S.N.P.F., Pauli Prince Suhren has not been replied as of press time.