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ASG employees to work full time for next two pay periods

joy@samoanews.com

 “While we pray that this federal shutdown will end soon, we must prepare for the worst, which means that you must know your finances well so you know how to formulate your worst case scenario plans in the event the federal shutdown continues,” said Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga in a statement issued by the Governor’s Office regarding the federal shutdown- now in its 14th day.
 
Governor Lolo has informed his cabinet that the entire government work force will continue to work the full 80 hours for the next two pay periods.
 
However, if the federal shutdown continues beyond October 25, 2013 he will determine new options to be adopted to ensure that the American Samoa Government’s financial solvency is not compromised, yet mindful of economic development implications.
 
“The alternative strategies are currently being developed jointly with the Cabinet expecting that they will be fully developed and ready for his (Governor’s) decision and implementation before the end of the second authorized pay period,” said the statement.
 
The governor’s announcement was based on figures and analysis conducted by all departments and agencies of the executive branch, and synthesized and finalized by the Treasury Department and the Budget Office.
 
According to the statement, the total cost of each payroll is $3,677,025 and $1,466,051 is covered by federal funds with the remaining amount of $2,210,973 is defrayed by local funds.
 
Federally funded agencies have verified that $2,189,840 is available for monthly drawdown irrespective of the shutdown. “However, other federally funded programs indicated that $401,000 of available reimbursement funds will take time to be draw down on a monthly basis while $225,700 of expenditures requiring federal reimbursement could not be draw down at all during the shutdown.”
 
According to the statement, the report to the governor states that detailed average monthly revenue collections are $8,379,181 with $8,966,049 in expenditures which include payroll, subsidy payments to authorities and enterprise funds, ASPA and ASTCA billings, lease payments and Fono allowances.
 
“A shortfall of $568,868 is expected if the shutdown persists beyond October 31, 2013,” it says.
 
 The total revenues exclude the $401,000 of delayed federal reimbursable funds which could be utilized subsequently to reduce the shortfall.
 
Lolo acknowledged that while he and Lt Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga, are “guardedly confident that all accrued non-work time during the shutdown will be recovered and reimbursed, there is a slight chance, given the federal preoccupation with the national debt, the President might not elect to authorize retroactive payment of non-work time during the federal shutdown.”
 
In the statement, the governor thanked the cabinet, Treasury and Budget for the report and stated that the current challenge is not a budget issue but a cash flow predicament which could be effectively mitigated if ASG adopts an aggressive revenue collection posture, while affirming the commitment to continue compliance with the existing cost containment measures issued on January 3, 2013.
 
Lolo said the total government workforce will continue to work for two pay periods after which he and Lemanu will implement new cost containment measures which will preserve the government’s financial integrity while minimizing adverse impacts on the quality of services to the people of American Samoa.
 
The governor also noted that his decision to order the return of all furloughed federally funded employees back to work is triggered by he and Lemanu’s concern over the severe financial impact on families to finance basic living needs and also to ease the erosion of the effectiveness of the current efforts to rebuild the economy setback by the global economic meltdown, the 2009 tsunami, and the imposition of the federal minimum wage.
 
The governor told his cabinet that they can survive this challenge successfully if ASG will “practice prudence and frugality.”  



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