Governor gives personal commitment to business community
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has shared with the private sector his personal commitment to work with the business community in order for it to grow and prosper thereby create more jobs in American Samoa.
The governor, durning his brief remarks at Friday night’s business awards banquet co-hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Business and Professional Women's group, said he was pleased to take part in the event that is giving him the chance to take a closer look “at the real faces of the people [who] really shape and mold the future of this territory.”
“Our business community is probably the most elite group of individuals on this island and of course we rely heavily on you to develop our islands, our territory and set a good future for our young generation,” he said.
The governor says he knows that the private sectors wants to hear “where we are today.”
“My number one priority as far as I’m concerned is to make sure that we develop an infrastructure that will help the business community to develop, to grow and to make money so that you can create more jobs for our young people,” he said.
“Secondly, as far as I’m concerned, is for us to review our tax structure, to make sure that we are giving you the flexibility so your business can grow and in fact create more jobs,” he said to applause from the audience.
The governor pointed out that it's hard for his new administration, which has been in office for seven months to achieve a lot because “we have to put our house in order [first] before we can get anything else done.”
“Our number one priority is to get our infrastructure in place,” he said and noted the private sector is aware of the policy making bodies of ASG boards and commissions in which the administration wants the business community involved.
“Why? It’s because policies and directions are set by those boards that will give you flexibility to grow and to make sure that there is a future for our community,” he said.
For example, ASPA has brought down the costs of electricity by some four/five cents and all other ASG agencies that are involved are prepared to provide that environment, that business needs to grow and prosper, he said.
Regarding taxes, Lolo said this is one difficult issue to deal with but his administration is in the process of reviewing and making sure that ASG “provides a level playing field for every business.”
“One of the biggest concerns that I have, personally — some businesses have been getting better treatment than others. In my opinion, one rule, one law should be fair and square for everyone,” he said to applause from the audience.
In response, Chamber chairman David Robinson says he believes all in the business community echoed the sentiments of the governor for a “business friendly” environment as articulated in Lolo’s gubernatorial campaign that one of his priorities would be to work with the private sector through the Chamber of Commerce.
“He’s true to his word. He's doing that and we’ve got a lot of interesting proposals we’re putting together - discussions as we go along - hopefully for the betterment of our economy,” he said.
“Thank you very very much governor for being a ‘business friendly governor’,” he said and that resulted in another round of applause from the audience.
At the end of the evening, Robinson again thanked the governor and Mrs. Moliga for being their special guests, saying the Chambers stands ready to assist the governor “so treat us as your friend” and “we”re there to support you.”
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