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COC applauds administration for appointing qualified people to serve

The Chamber of Commerce has praised Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s decisions appointing people qualified with experience to director posts and government boards to serve in the new administration, calling this a positive move in building a good relationship between the public and private sectors. As of last Friday, seven cabinet appointments have been sent to the Fono for confirmation while the LBJ Medical Center, American Samoa Power Authority and American Samoa Telecommunications Authority boards have also been reconstituted with new board members. The governor, during his State of the Territory Address last week Monday, outlined his economic development agenda and Chamber chairman David Robinson said the business organization stands ready to support the new administration. Robinson also said that during a recent Board meeting the Chamber directors noted that the new Administration has started its term “with some very encouraging changes, such as new policies relating to improving the financial strength of government, economic development and reducing the cost of utilities.”Additionally, “the appointment of new directors with appropriate skills and experience for various ASG departments, and drawing from the private sector to reconstitute Boards such as ASPA, LBJ and ASTCA demonstrate this Administration's commitment to building a positive relationship between the public and the private sectors,” said Robinson, responding to Samoa News requests for comments about the governor’s economic development agenda. Robinson said DOC working with the Chamber has already produced new legislation which, if adopted, would streamline the process for Business License issuance.“We hope that with the blessing of the new Administration this legislation may go before the current session of the Fono for approval,” he said. During last year’s gubernatorial campaign, Lolo promised changes to the business license permit process, to make it easier for businesses to be licensed instead of the current practice which involves lengthy waiting periods. In his address to the Fono, the governor said it's necessary to change the business licensing law by incorporating new changes aimed at reducing red tape which slows the review and approval process. He said any proposed amendments will be submitted to the Fono for review and consideration. Lolo also said the Department of Commerce will be transformed with full dedication to the business of fostering economic development while other departmental functions which are not economically related will be moved to other agencies of the government with similar missions. (The last administration had submitted a proposal to streamline the business licensing process, but the measure was never introduced in the Fono, which was dealing with the final budget approval for fiscal year 2013.)Robinson says the Chamber looks forward to a time when it will meet with the governor to share ideas related to established Economic Planning Committees from its membership. “We hope for the improvement of economic conditions and job creation in the territory and to find ways in which the Chamber can play its part in providing an appropriate level of assistance and support,” he said.