Little change of privatizing shipyard in current state of disrepair, says board chair
The American Samoa Shipyard Authority board chairman David Robinson believes the government owned shipyard - in its current stage of despair - is not worth much if there is a move to privatized it.
Robinson was speaking at Thursday’s Fono joint budget committee hearing on the shipyard budget for the new fiscal year 2014. A handful of lawmakers asked the board to look at privatizing the shipyard.
Robinson replied, “This is something that is certainly in the back of our minds, and the board of directors of the shipyard discusses it on a regular basis, but we just need time.”
“If we went out now and tried to privatize the shipyard, we won’t find many people interested, because [the shipyard is] still quite run down,” he said. “So we need another 12 months to really upgrade it and then look at privatization, in which case, the government at the time will stand to take in more revenue in lease payments and things like that.”
“At the moment, the government wouldn’t benefit greatly. But in 12 months time, with the work [currently] planned, the government would be in a very strong position to go out and market the shipyard and privatize it,” he added.
Robinson told lawmakers there is a lot of capital improvement needed at the shipyard after the lack of proper maintenance by previous tenants over the past 30 years.
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