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ASG fuel allotment for 2012 already $80,000 overrun

The government’s fuel allocation for the current fiscal year 2012 is already in the red by more than $80,000 while the 2012 Flag Day Committee has identified thirty-four ASG vehicles to be used for this year’s celebration.

In an Apr. 5 memo to all executive branch departments and agencies, Office of Program Planning and Budget director Malemo L. Tausaga says the current fiscal year’s fuel allocation of $150,000 was approved under the FY 2012 budget.

“To date, the account is currently overrun by $82,361. A projection of this account if we continue at the current trend will be overrun by $464,724” at the end of the fiscal year, said Malemo, who asked everyone’s cooperation “in streamlining cost efficient efforts in prioritizing gas usage for your departments and agencies.”

“Many of your departments and agencies have asked for substantial amounts of [fuel] coupons to fulfill your agencies projects and other department tasks, however, a need to minimize the use of fuel at this time is a must in order to save a huge deficit on our current year’s budget,” said Malemo.

Samoa News has been unable to obtain confirmation if the $150,000 fuel allocation is for local funds, or both local and federal grants.

During last September’s Fono review of the FY 2012 budget, many lawmakers questioned government directors about their fuel allocations because many departments and agencies allocated either a small portion or none for fuel.

The reply from directors is always the same, like many other questions regarding funding for other expenses: it’s all that they are allowed in their budget.

ASG’s gas station at the new Motor Pool in Tafuna is overseen by the Department of Public Works and the department has stated in past quarterly performance reports that budget  for the fuel consumption of the entire ASG fleet “is wanting”.

“Increase in the number of vehicles, fluctuation of prices, and the increase of transportation needs magnified this problem,” said DPW  in its first quarter performance report for FY 2012.

DPW is one of the Executive departments with many vehicles, along with the Department of Education, Department of Public Safety and the Department of Parks of Recreation.

Samoa News received word yesterday from at least three executive departments with plans to issue memos by today informing personnel to use vehicles wisely due to problems with fuel allocation.

Four days after Malemo’s memo, Lt. Gov. Faoa Aitofele Sunia - co-chair of the Flag Day Committee sent out a memo identifying thirty-four vehicles the committee plans to utilize for the Flag Day for visiting dignitaries, guests and VIPs.

Faoa requested that these automobiles be turned in at the Motor Pool no later than 4p.m. yesterday to be cleaned and serviced for Flag Day use. Additionally, directors of departments or agencies whose vehicles are on the list have been asked to provide a driver if possible but if not, the committee will provide drivers.

According to the list of vehicles to be used, several of the cars are from the department of Human and Social Services, and Education Departments. The vehicles to be used by the Flag Day committee includes 4Runner, Vans and SUVs.

On Mar. 30, Faoa appointed members and chairs of the 14 Coordinating Committees for the 2012 Flag Day. He asked the chairperson of each committee to make sure that those who are appointed to various committees understand that there is an overtime freeze in government.

“Work on Flag Day activities is voluntary beyond a scheduled 40-hour work week,” he said.