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Task Force appointed to review revenue-generating measures for ASG

[SN file photo]
Focus: To maximize getting money for the gov’t

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has appointed a task force to review revenue-generating measures for the American Samoa Government. The panel’s first meeting is scheduled for this week, as they have until later next month to provided findings and recommendations for review by the top leaders of the Executive Branch.

In appointing the six-member task force early last week, the governor says the existence of legal measures for the generation and collection of revenues were enacted years ago, and yet the economic and business dynamics have changed continuously compelling “doubt over their legal sufficiency with respect to maximizing revenue generation for the government.”

Lolo points out that in the last four years ASG has begun the process of assessing these revenue measures; and changes have been made to some — such as business licensing fees, corporate tax rates reduction and others.

“This initiative requires continuation, thus it is deemed necessary to establish the Task Force to complete this needed process,” said Lolo, who added that the panel is to review and assess the effectiveness of all existing revenue generating legislation with respect to existing economic and financial environment.

“The Task Force will recommend amendments to existing revenue generating legislation deemed to be obsolete and irrelevant in maximizing revenue generation” for ASG, according to the governor, who added that the panel is to submit its report before or by Feb. 25, 2017 for his and Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga’s review.

The Task Force will be chaired by Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale and its members are ASG acting Treasurer Uelinitone Tonumaipea; Budget and Planning Office acting director Catherine Aigamaua Saelua; Commerce Department acting director Keniseli Lafaele; Port Administration acting director Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Tuia-Poumele; Criminal Justice Planning Agency’s former director Keith Gebauer; and the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira.

Samoa News understands that Talauega has called for the Task Force’s first meeting to be held Jan. 18 to discuss a game plan for how it plans to accomplish its mission as set by the governor. The panel has also been provided copies of recently enacted laws — such as the hike in cigarette and tobacco tax; the hotel occupancy tax; and hike in business license fees.