Average ASG payroll every two weeks is about $4Mil
American Samoa Government’s average payroll expenditure every two weeks is about $4 million, according to the ASG Treasury Department Accomplishment Report for 2013-2016, which also shows a large percentage of local revenue going to pay for personnel costs.
The report, which was submitted late last month to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga, made clear that outside of normal ASG day-to-day obligations, the largest one is payroll or personnel expenses. And over the last five years, the data shows the alarming concern of the “dispersion” between local and grant funded personnel costs.
“The burden of payroll has steadily been moved to local funds from grants,” the report says and noted that there maybe various reasons why these grants are no longer available or awarded, however, the burden should not be placed on local funds.
Treasury says the average payroll between FY 2012 and FY 2016 ranged from $100 million to $103 million, with the highest one in FY 2015 at $104.8 million — with $65.9 million funded by local revenue and $38.5 million through grants.
In FY 2016, total payroll was at $103.1 million - with $64.6 million in local revenue (or 63%) and $38.5 million (37%) in grants, according to data in the Treasury report.
(FY 2016: ASG payroll is every 2 weeks, for 26 pay periods per year, for an average of $4Mil per pay period.)
The report shows that in FY 2012, the split from the two funding sources was almost the same: total payroll was $102.6 million with $56.4 million (55%) from local revenue and $46.1 million (or 45%) from grants.
However, by fiscal years 2013- 2016, Treasury data shows a drop in federal grants with local revenues paying a large majority of personnel expenses.
According to Treasury, the “obligation has not changed or decreased, it has been [instead] transferred to local funds.”
(Samoa News should point out that this has been an ongoing concern in the government, with grants ending, yet personnel, who were hired to work in these grants, continue to be employed — only they are now paid with local funds, not grant funds, as the grant is over.)
Treasury also says that 60% to 75% of all local revenue collected funds personnel costs.
For example, preliminary FY 2016 numbers show $104.45 million collected in local revenue, of which $64.61 million went to payroll. Treasury says that leaves less than $40 million in local revenues to fund all other obligations of the government, including operations — subsidies, utilities and all other fixed costs.
On average pay period, every two weeks, Treasury says it must ensure that revenues collected meet the required disbursement of nearly $4 million for payroll costs. From 2012 to 2016, the data shows a slight fluctuation but will within the same range.
Preliminary numbers of FY 2016 show that the average payroll every two weeks was $3.96 million — with $2.48 million from local funds and $1.48 million in federal grants. The highest average payroll was $4.03 million in FY 2015.
Treasury again points out that the “alarming concern is the dispersion” between local and federal funds.
“The burden now falls onto the local and not grants with 63% of personnel being funded by local with only 37% funded with grants,” Treasury said. “In most programs, local [funds] must front costs and will be reimbursed at a later time, which further negatively impacts our cash flow.”
Treasury went on to point out that over the last 4 years (FY 2011 to FY 2015), the collection in taxes has increased from 18% to 26% and it also validates the decreased inflow of funds from grants from 66% in 2011 to 62% in 2015.
“It is imperative that grant funded programs in American Samoa ensure continuity of their respective programs and more importantly reimbursements to the general fund that front costs for expenses are completed in a timely manner in both personnel and payables,” Treasury says. “The impact on cash flow and the general fund must be minimal throughout the year.”
See yesterday’s edition, where tax revenues are cited in the report and other issues. Samoa News notes that the payroll division is under the Human Resources Department, with checks cut by Treasury.