Fono in Review
SUPPLEMENTAL BILL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED IN HOUSE
The House version of the supplemental funding bill is set to be introduced in the Senate this morning, after house members unanimously approved their version last Thursday, without any changes.
However, on Wednesday when the bill was read for the second reading, Taulauta Faipule Larry Sanitoa moved to bring the bill back to committee for a more thorough discussion on several expenditures by the Administration, including the Fono’s $500K appropriation.
His attempts failed when the bill was approved in second reading and was unanimously approved in final and third reading the next day.
Sanitoa told Samoa News, he asked for more time “given that we have all of next week to move this legislation through the House and Senate, I was hoping to use yesterday (Wednesday) and today (Thursday) to get more reports on certain line item expenditures as requested in the bill.
“For the record, I applaud the governor for submitting a supplemental with reasonably sound funding measures to address the proposed critical expenditures,” said Sanitoa.
He further stated that reviewing additional information on some of the proposed expenditures would have given a better understanding of what was budgeted and the reasons behind this additional funding. “Furthermore, given the many other critical problems facing ASG, I believe the Fono could forego the $500K in additional appropriations.
He said, “…it was explained that this money was for the new Fono building… recent reports from Treasury clarify that Fono allocations from the $20 million loan has been used to fund the new building.” (Samoa News has reported that this funding is ‘short’ in that a report of the loan proceeds, points to it being used to pay other matters, such as the 2008 Arts Festival and the 2008 Samoa Heritage Week.)
Sanitoa also noted other concerns would be better funded by reprogramming the Fono allocation in the supplemental budget bill, like the possible limited DOE sports schedule for the next school year, which is said to be due to lack of funding, DPW’s (Department of Public Works) ongoing request for additional funding to support their road maintenance program and funding to support the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Plan, “to try and address the most serious health problem facing our territory.”
Sanitoa said he believes the Fono needs to do their part and help resolve the many critical problems the territory is currently facing, and reprogramming the additional appropriations for the Fono is the right thing to do.
ASPA RESPONDS TO ELECTRICAL/WATER PROBLEMS IN AUNU’U
Representative Talaimatai Esera Su’a commends Utu Abe Malae and the ASPA crew for responding to the needs of the people of Aunu’u, pertaining to their electrical and water ongoing problems.
During the House regular session last week, Rep. Puletu Dick Koko chairman of the ASPA Committee informed the lawmakers that ASPA crews have been in Aunu’u for the past two weeks working on the water, given that currently the water in Aunu’u is not fit for consumption. Rep. Talaimatai noted that he hopes that after ASPA crews work on their water tanks it would be consumable, given how costly is it to buy bottled water.
The Aunu’u faipule also told Samoa News ASPA crews have been in Aunu’u, the last two weeks, where they also replaced streetlights, not only in Aunu’u but also Masefau. He said, water is a daily necessity and he’s thankful for ASPA’s quick response after the issues were brought up in the Fono’s regular sessions and hearings.
However, with regards to the relocation of the ASPA generators, Talaimatai said its uncertain as of now as to where in Aunu’u these generators will be relocated, given that families have to agree on installing the generators on their land.
Currently, the generators are located next to the Aunu’u elementary school, which in previous hearings/sessions, the Aunu’u faipule has raised concerns that it is unsafe for a generator to be placed next to the school for the safety of students and staff.
REP SAULO RAISES CONCERNS ON CONDITION OF THS BATHROOMS
Rep. Florence Vaili Saulo sought assistance from the House Education Committee, after complaints were launched by her constituents about the condition of the restrooms at Tafuna High School.
During the House regular session, she urged Governor Lolo M. Moliga to also act immediately on the repairing of the bathroom and facilities at Tafuna High School, given the poor condition these facilities are in: which references when two weeks ago, the Governor threatened to close down Fagaitua High School due to the terrible conditions the school was in, namely the bathrooms and one of the school’s buildings.
Lolo said in his cabinet meeting last week that he contacted DOE and ordered that they do something about this situation immediately.
“It is embarrassing, shame on us, shame on parents for not raising hell with me... for putting their children in such a place…. They should not be in school if this is the condition of the school,” he said.