24 July 2021 Apia Samoa. Samoa’s Prime Minister Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa held a meeting with key government officials at the Maota o Samoa FAST party headquarters at Vaitele on Saturday morning.
“Today, I and Cabinet met with key officials to begin transition of our new government into office,” stated Fiame during her first press conference with the media since the Court of Appeal declared her tent swearing-in as Prime Minister on May 24th as lawful and constitutional.
Fiame confirmed that Samoa’s Parliament would convene as early as next week to pass a budget that would ensure the ongoing operations of Government.
“We have directed Treasury to prepare a budget premised on Article 95 of the Constitution which is 25 percent of the last budget – 2020/2021”, confirmed the Prime Minister.
“This will give effect of supply to continue the operations of Government and availing our new administration time to review the financial and economic situation of our country before presenting a full budget”.
The Prime Minister added that preparations towards an annual budget is a process that starts as early as February each year, and thanked the Ministry of Finance for moving ahead with this work despite the political situation of the past 4 months.
The FAST party manifesto included key initiatives that would impact fiscal policy and their implementation would ultimately shift priorities as well as approach, to government spending.
FAST campaigned on improved community based programmes including an annual $51 million tala allocation for grassroots district development initiatives to be implemented within each of the 51 electoral constituencies. It also indicated that $200 million tala would be allocated each year to create employment by supporting growth in business and exports.
According to the the FAST party manifesto, the new Government aims to grow the Samoa economy by 20% over the 5 year term, and support household income and expenditure by bringing down costs of services such as electricity, water, motor vehicle licensing, and ferry costs to Savaii, while at the same time increase minimum wage.
Samoa’s incoming Prime Minister confirmed her Cabinet would formally take office on Tuesday next week, 27 July 2021, “on an expected smooth transition with the outgoing caretaker government”.
“Let us all now come together, each in our own way, to make Samoa, our beloved country, a place we can be proud of and happy to live in”, concludes Fiame.