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Chamber leader agrees with ASBA president: reforms needed to revive entrepreneurs

fili@samoanews.com

Chamber of Commerce chairman David Robinson says he agrees with "some of the sentiments expressed" by Sean Morrison, president of the American Samoa Bar Association who called for the revival of entrepreneurship as the territory is faced with a weak economy, and drastic cuts in federal funding.

Morrison said American Samoa is rife with opportunities for the entrepreneur and cited tourism as a prime example. He said the Bar's Legal Reform Committee is now reviewing the laws relating to business and commerce, to see if there's a way to modify the laws in such a way as to bring business back to life in the territory. (See Thursday's edition in Letters to the Editor for more details on Morrison's comments.)

Robinson told Samoa News late last week that reforms are necessary to provide a "suitable environment for entrepreneurship to flourish".

He points to the June 2008 Report on Policy Reform produced by the Governor's Economic Advisory Council (EAC) where reference was made on the need to "implement reforms in the current corporate and personal tax code, current immigration policies, business licensing, the availability of affordable finance, our current wage structure, and the ever increasing cost of services"

The report also points out the "need for the government to consider some forms of corporatization and privatization of a number of its existing operations in order to create new opportunities for the private sector," said Robinson, the EAC co-chair. "If reforms can take place in these areas, the opportunities for encouraging young Samoans to become entrepreneurs will be created."

If the Bar Association is interested in pursuing this matter, Robinson suggested that the Bar convene a meeting with Chamber of Commerce and Department of Commerce representatives to formulate a position paper that would complement the EAC document and create an updated framework for proposed reforms to be implemented.

"We are expecting a high percentage of entries and nominations for our Business Awards Night presentations in various categories to come from young Samoan entrepreneurs-- and a part of the Chamber's 2012 strategy, support and training to assist young business people is a major component," he said.

The Fourth Annual Business Awards night will be held Dec. 3 at the Governor H.Rex Lee Auditorium. This year, the Chamber is joined by the Business and Professional Women of American Samoa as co-hosts. Winners will be chosen by judges from these two organizations.

Categories are: Businesswoman of the Year; Businessman of the Year; Young Business Person of the Year; Community Support Award; New Business Award; Nonprofit Award; Customer Service Award; and Green Business of the Year.

Robinson encourages the local community to submit nominations for these categories adding that there are a lot of businesses - including small businesses - as well as individuals in the territory that have done a lot for American Samoa in the past 12 months, and deserve to be nominated for either one or more than one category.

Nomination forms are available at Samoa News, Laufou Shopping Center and Pago Plaza.



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