Samoa Govt. has nothing to hide about debt, P.M. says
Apia, SAMOA — Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi says the Government has nothing to hide when it comes to its total debt, which stands at $1.01 billion today.
“We don’t hide anything, everything is out in the open, you can get the figure from our Central Bank,” Tuilaepa said.
“Even if it reaches many billions, we’ll still publicise it. Why? We’ve got nothing to hide.”
Tuilaepa said the debt is the result of the Government working hard to develop the country and as long as that is the case, there will be nothing secretive about it.
His comments were in response to an article published in the Samoa Observer over the Samoa Government’s debt to China, which has increased from $315.16 million in 2013 to $410.01 million in 2017.
The debt to China is a major part of the Government’s total debt.
The Ministry of Finance’s Statement of Borrowing issued under the Public Accounts for the years 2013 to 2017 confirmed this.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa explained that Samoa needs to borrow money.
“Developments are being funded by taxes, duties, aid and loans from overseas. Developments don’t wait until we collect enough revenues and then we do it. No if we were to do that, then we’ll have absolutely nothing,” he said.
“A lot of this stuff that we’re not doing is not different from what happens in the villages. You know sometimes when they build a church and they cannot complete it, they go and take out a loan.”
The Government, he said, is no exception.
He reassured members of the public there is nothing to worry about.
“We have a plan. A lot of the loans are from the world’s biggest banks where we are given between thirty to fourty years to pay them off.
“On top of that, there are also long grace periods, about five to ten years and the loans come with very small interest.”
Tuilaepa said the common misconception by some people is that they think “we have to pay them all off by next year.”