CoC head says some companies have not received economic surveys
Chamber of Commerce chairman David Robinson believes one reason some local businesses have not responded to the 2012 Economic Census is because they have not received the survey form and cited his company as one that has not yet received a form.
On the other hand, the Commerce Department has joined the U.S. Census Bureau in urging businesses who have not responded, to do so as soon as possible.
Lee R. Wentela, branch chief of the U.S. Census Bureau Economic Census Branch, arrived Monday night for a follow up with local businesses which have not yet submitted their questionnaire. He is working out of the DOC office, which coordinates all U.S. census projects for ASG.
When asked about the follow-up visit by Wentela, Robinson says he has not had any contact with the Census official, who he met last year during the initial phase of the 2012 economic census. He also says that he was surprised there was no contact with the Chamber this time around to help.
“I usually send out a note to Chamber members reminding them about the census and this has been done in the past and it has worked well,” Robinson said yesterday. “But this time around there has been no communication at all. I only learned about the visit through the media.”
“When I met Mr. Wentela last year, I offered the Chamber’s help in getting the word out to the private sector during the entire process of this census,” he said.
Robinson says he believes that one reason not all of the business sector has responded to the survey is that they have not received their form.
“For example, for my business — I have not received a survey form — and I’m sure others are faced with the same problem,” said Robinson, general manager of a local company.
Meanwhile, DOC director Keniseli Lafaele says Wentela is on island this week to assist in completing and collecting the surveys.
“Hence, I urge all businesses and organizations that received the economic census surveys to complete them correctly and honestly - we need good data - and call the local department of commerce for collection,” he said, responding to Samoa News request for comments on the census.
“This 2012 economic census is important to understanding our economic status since 2007 when the last economic census was taken,” he said.
He pointed out that the “bursting” of the US housing bubble in 2006 caused the Global Financial Crisis that peaked in 2008. “Like the rest of the world, American Samoa was not spared. The 2009 earthquake and tsunami—that nailed the coffin for COS Samoa Packing — compounded our financial woes and shook the foundation of our faith, if temporarily,” he said.
“It would be interesting to gauge the impact of the generous flow of federal government assistance [resulting from the aforementioned financial crisis and natural disaster], political leadership, and community resilience on the territory’s recovery.
Local businesses needing more information about the census can contact Lee Wentela at DOC 633-5155.
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