Manu’a development rests on transportation, transportation and transportation
While developing infrastructure plans for the territory, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has also tasked the Commerce Department to include in such plans infrastructure development for the Manu’a island group, in line with the administration’s goal to boost economic development there.
“We’re asking the DOC director, who is developing all of the infrastructure, that we should plan the development of Manu’a in terms of what kind of business, what kind of life style our people in Manu’a should have, and how we can help to bring those goals into reality,” Lolo said at last Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.
Responding to Samoa News questions, DOC director Keniseli Lafaele says the 'renaissance' — revival — of Manu'a, was basically the theme of the recent colorful and successful Manu'a Flag Day.
“The driving force for this revival is the economic development of Manu’a; and without transportatio — both sea and air — with sustainable boat and airplane service to and from Manu’a, along with reliable and affordable energy and communications infrastructure, economic development for Manu'a will not take off,” he said.
“Without infrastructure, the 'Manu'a Renaissance' is a just mental exercise,” he said, adding that efforts are being made by the Governor's office, in collaboration with other ASG departments and partners, including the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, to improve the wharves and airports, improve the lines of communication, and look into renewable energy for Manu'a.
Lafaele says the specifics of the Manu'a development plan are a work in progress. ”Suffice it to say that Manu'a's strength lies in its pristine environment, strong cultural and traditional roots, fertile land and rich ocean resources,” said Lafaele when asked about possible areas of infrastructure improvement and business development.
“As far as possible, efforts should be led by the people of Manu'a with government support and expertise. The project scope should start locally, but with the flexibility to expand territorially, regionally, nationally and internationally as capacity grows,” he said.
Asked how DOC is helping people in Manu’a with the processing of business applications, Lafaele says DOC will have a permanent employee in it’s Ta'u and Ofu offices to handle applications and fees.
Asked for any other comments on DOC’s efforts to develop the Manu’a island group, Lafaele replied, “All rests on transportation, transportation, and transportation. After that, then energy and communication. God willing, the rest should follow.”