Lolo tells businesses, if you don't have a PO or service contract — invoices will not be paid
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In a letter yesterday to “All business owners and Private Sector”, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga reaffirmed the American Samoa Government policy already in place, and that is - without a purchase order or service contract, invoices from businesses will not be paid.
Samoa News received many complaints from the private sector over the past several months regarding invoices not being paid in a timely manner, saying they are faced with a long delay when getting payment from ASG although services or goods were provided and delivered. Some of them claim to have taken their complaints to the Governor’s Office.
In the letter, the governor acknowledged complaints received in fiscal year 2018 concerning the slow payment of invoices.
The complaints, he said, prompted the review of existing procurement policies and “precipitated the issuance of a revised goods and services acquisition policy to all businesses targeting the mitigation of these complaints.”
After the review of outstanding accounts payables owed to businesses, Lolo said, “it was again revealed that the contributing factor, which caused substantial delay in the issuance of payments, is the failure of the vendor as well as the government agency to comply with existing and established procurement policies.”
“Accordingly, this letter serves to reaffirm the policy, which was established last fiscal year, in which vendors were informed and warned not to release any goods or render any services to any agency of the American Samoa Government without first securing a Purchase Order or a Service Contract,” Lolo wrote.
“From here on out,” the governor said, “invoices received” by ASG through its agencies for goods delivered/received or service provided without obtaining a purchase order or service contract “will not be honored or paid.”
He added that the director of the agency is “hereby held financially responsible for the cost of goods delivered or service provided”. ASG “will not be held liable for such purchases, which fail to comply with established policies.”
The above policy was put in place during last fiscal year and each business establishment was notified of it, said Lolo, noting that full enforcement of the policy was effective Oct. 1, 2018.
According to the letter, which was also sent to all ASG directors, as well as the ASG Treasury and Chief Procurement Officer, this policy applies to both local and off island vendors.
The governor has emphasized and stressed this same issue in past cabinet meetings, for directors not to secure goods from vendors and later seek approval from the Procurement Office, as this is violation of the law.
In July this year, Chief Procurement Officer, Dr. Oreta M. Crichton informed executive branch directors that Procurement will no longer “turn a blind eye” on transactions that circumvent the procurement process — all “after the fact” requisitions will no longer be accepted.
In March 2015, the governor wrote to vendors doing business with ASG that: “Goods or services issued and delivered to the purchasing [ASG] agencies without having in your possession the fully executed purchase order will not be paid as it is in violation of the ‘After-the-Fact-Purchase’ Policy, which has been issued to all agencies of the American Samoa Government.”