ASPA signs 2-year supply agreement for power poles
On the first day of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, the American Samoa Power Authority signed a two-year supply agreement for 500 30-foot Class 4 and 100 40-foot Class 1 Caribbean Pine power poles with the Aotearoa-Tonga Forest Products Limited.
The contract is valued at USD $205,000, and was endorsed by Chairman Fonoti Perelini Perelini, Executive Director Utu Abe Malae, and Managing Director Paul Michael Young on behalf of the American Samoa Power Authority, and Director Soane Ramamlal and Chief Executive Officer Penisimani Vea for the Aotearoa-Tonga Forest Product Limited.
The American Samoa Government Director of Commerce Fuiavalili Keniseli Lafaele, American Samoa Shipyard Authority Chief Executive Officer Moefaauo Bill Emmsley and American Samoa Government Tongan Liaison Officer Mafi Sione Lousiale Lotolua Kava also attended the signing ceremony.
The supply agreement is pursuant to a “Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga and the Government of the Territory of American Samoa on Principles of Economic Cooperation” dated April 21, 1986 and signed by former Governor of American Samoa Honorable A.P. Lutali and His Majesty, the King of Tonga Taufa’ahauTupou IV.
It is a direct result of an official visit to the Kingdom of Tonga by an American Samoa Government delegation led by Director Lafaele between May 2 and 4, 2017. The importance of the contract is underscored by the speed the deal was negotiated, reviewed, and executed after a thorough due diligence of the products by the American Samoa officials.
The American Samoa Power Authority is a semi-autonomous unit of the American Samoa Government, which provides power, water, wastewater and solid waste utility services to the Territory. Previously, it purchased 30 and 40-foot power poles from vendors located in the United States' Pacific Northwest.
The Power Authority’s cost of power poles and shipping is significantly reduced under this contract. Moreover, the Kingdom of Tonga’s close proximity to the Territory permits the Authority to have a ready supply of power poles in the event of a natural disaster. The quality of power poles meets international electric utility industry specifications and requirements.
The Aotearoa-Tonga Forest Products Limited is a management company that manages the ‘Eua Forestry Reserve, and the production and supply of timber products and power poles from this forest estate and other private forest owners, on behalf of the Government of Tonga.
The company currently produces construction framing timber products and furniture to the local construction industry in Tonga. It is the sole local producer of lumber and construction timber utilizing local wood stocks, particularly Caribbean Pine. Furthermore, the company is the sole supplier of power and transmission poles to Tonga Power Limited, the state-owned enterprise that is responsible for the management of the power utility network in Tonga.
The potential for bilateral trade between the Territory of American Samoa and the Kingdom of Tonga has been long recognized but largely unrealized. The Honorable Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga of American Samoa and HE Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva of the Kingdom of Tonga met during the 48thPacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting to fulfill this promise.
Both parties hope to build upon the momentum created by this agreement and pursue the trade of other goods and services. Direct flights by Talofa Air between the two destinations began in July 2017 and the American Samoa Shipyard Authority will be performing repairs on a Kingdom of Tonga vessel starting in October 2017.
In 1986, the governments of American Samoa and the Kingdom of Tonga exchanged lands to facilitate bilateral trade.