Monthly payment to Computer Services Ltd. from Samoa Govt remains unexplained
Apia, SAMOA — The $1.9 million paid monthly to the Computer Services Ltd (CSL) remained unexplained by the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa despite being questioned in Parliament last Thursday.
The issue was raised by the Member of Parliament for Anoama’a West, Lauofo Pierre Lauofo who quoted the Minister’s Budget speech where the Minister said that the $1.9 million is paid to CSL for the ownership of the domain service name of Samoa.
“On page 17 of the Parliamentary Finance Committee report, it says the $1.9 million is paid to CSL on a monthly basis,” said Lauofo.
The former Deputy Prime Minister said if the report is correct, then he believed the amount was very high considering the time frame it is paid to CSL.
He said Government should consider placing CSL under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) to save costs.
When responding to issues questioned by Members of Parliament, the Minister did not make reference to Lauofo’s question and the Budget was later passed by parliament.
In the 2018/2019 Budget Report, Sili highlighted the importance of technology in the development of the public sector hence the emphasis on the public sector reform.
He said times have changed and ways of working have changed and the public sector employees are now working with computers, emails and mobile phones to communicate.
“If we do not make the best use of new technology to improve efficiency and if we continue to do things the way we have always done things, we are just wasting money,” said Sili.
With reference to the Parliamentary Finance Committees report, CSL receives $22.8 million a year, more than what 7 other Government Ministries are getting individually from this year’s budget.
Part of a $2.8million allocation in the 2018/19 Budget under the Ministry of Finance is for payment of an outstanding debt to the American Samoa based ASH Cable by Computer Services Limited.
KHJ News reported earlier this year that the debt was more than $US1million owed to ASH cable for the use of their DS3 cable for internet connections between the two Samoas and beyond.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told KHJ News then that it was “common sense” that government step in and do it.
PARRIS GOEBEL RECOGNIZED BY PACIFIC BUSINESS TRUST
The Pacific Business Trust's Legacy Award this year celebrated an internationally renowned young female choreographer whose work has impacted positively on communities.
The Trust annually recognizes people who are doing innovative things that lead to commercial success.
CEO Kim Tuaine said the legacy award was given to business woman Parris Goebel, for her work at Palace studio in Auckland over the past decade.
Goebel, 24, is the founder of Auckland's Palace Dance Studio and has trained teams to compete at the World Hip Hop Championships, resulting in dozens of gold medals. She is well known for her work choreographing, directing and co-producing 13 new Justin Bieber videos, in 2015.
Her accolades include eight world championship titles since 2009, World Female Choreographer of the Year and Best Live Performance.
"Someone who has a global presence and who draws strength and opportunity from their heritage and background and when you really looked at that and the width and breadth of her career to date, there could be no other winner and we are really honored she came."
Kim Tuaine said finalist nominees were all assessed by a peer panel, independent from the Trust.
AMATA SPEAKS ON HOUSE FLOOR IN SUPPORT OF BIPARTISAN VETERANS BILL
Washington, D.C. – Monday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata spoke on the House floor in support of the bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, H.R. 299. The House passed the legislation later that evening.
Congresswoman Amata cosponsored and also voted for this bill on May 8, when it passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, along with a series of 16 bills regarding VA services and health care that passed the same day. One of these, the VA MISSION Act, which takes steps to reform the VA, was already signed into federal law by President Trump earlier this month.
Specifically, H.R. 299, would extend the presumption of service-connected diseases linked to exposure to herbicides like Agent Orange to veterans who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam, known as Blue Water Navy veterans. This is vitally important to these veterans, but as Congresswoman Amata notes in her statement, the bill is also an important broader statement of the Congress’s commitment to keeping the nation’s promises to veterans.
Text of Congresswoman Amata’s remarks in the House of Representatives as follows:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I rise today in support of H.R. 299. American Samoa is home to a great many veterans, especially on a per capita basis, as our people enlist at high rates in the U.S. Armed Forces.
On their behalf, I’m pleased to support the bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, recognizing the realities faced by those veterans who served in the region’s waters.
On a personal note, my brother served in the U.S. Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin and other area waters during Vietnam. This legislation recognizes the nature of the service of these veterans who did their duty in wartime.
This bill honors their mission, and helps keep the commitments we owe our veterans.
(Source: Congresswoman Amata’s Office, Washington D.C.)
SAMOA HOSTS FIRST TRADE EXPO
Various businesses from Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand converged in Samoa for the first Trade Expo to be hosted by the country yesterday. The two-day Frankie 2018 Samoa Food and Wine Trade Expo, which began at the Taumeasina Island Resort, had businesses from overseas and Samoa building and fostering connections.
The Expo aims to create a platform for different business owners to expand their networks. This was according to event organizer and owner of Frankie Company Limited, Frankie Cai.
“The reason was to bring our suppliers together to showcase their products and connecting them with the end-user," he said.
"This Expo was designed to promote the business and increase the product of the business into our market and extend our product range into our own business.
“Their work has enabled Frankie Company Limited to continue its business of reserving and having all these food and wine product available for sale for our people and country.
“Moreover the expo was to further support our focal point in business our customers, our people and community. The reason was to connect them with our suppliers, the businesses that have been supplying Frankie over the years,” he said.
Cai also shared it has always been one of the key objectives of Frankie Company to support the local manufacturers business and supplies in Samoa.
“Samoa has been invited to attend many overseas trade show and we want to have something here in Samoa where we can work and corporate with our local supplies and local manufactures.
“This expo whereby we will be featuring our local and overseas supply and we hope that this expo will be a success for both local and overseas supply so we can continue to have this expo every year.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi congratulated Cai for having the vision to go beyond despite the expenses to make the event possible.
He noted, “This is the only opportunity for us to see the initiative of the business people here. The many times we go overseas, like Japan, Australia, American Samoa and many other places who has offered to help expose and even right now and five years ahead I get visited by many representatives from overseas countries to try and ask Samoa to participate and they have promised to even built all the facilities for our business people to come and display their goods.”
Tuilaepa also highlighted some of the experiences that he has had and the importance of the trade expo.
“Recently I was in Japan for the Palm8 Meeting of the leaders of the Pacific and I had the opportunity to see some of the produce from Samoa. I saw some bakings that were using flour of glutton free flour from breadfruit.
“So when I read the label it says 40 percent of glutton-free breadfruit flour. This was very interesting revelation for me personally because here in Samoa when we established S.R.O.S., we had in mind the need to produce our own secondary products from our own agricultural produce, as being the only way to beat the very strict quarantine law of New Zealand and Australia.”
He explained: “This is the only that we could beat the system is that we engage with secondary products, now I’m told we have glutton free flour produced from breadfruit and we have the best whiskey produced from taro. Also asked to produce the liquor and Samoa rum, everything must have the label Samoa because it will make the product sell.
“Samoa should always be proudly displayed for everybody to see.”
(Source: Samoa Observer)