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“Practise what you preach,” PM Tuilaepa

Prime Minister  Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi
Source: Samoa Press Secretariat media release

Apia, SAMOA —Claims that government deliberately passed a new amendment in the tax  laws giving government the authority to seize the personal assets and bank accounts from EFKS reverends, who will not be paying taxes are absolutly far from the truth, says Prime Minister  Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.

“The law to seize personal assets and bank accounts as well as to prosecute taxpayers who do not pay taxes is nothing new. It’s been in our law books for years and it is not exclusive to faifeaus but applies to all taxpayers,” explained Tuilaepa.

“Even I’m not exempted as well Ministers of Cabinet and Members of Parliament. Anyone who earns an income must pay the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax if you are earning more than the threshold mandated by law.

To clarify the misconceptions, the Prime Minister said that seizing personal assets and bank accounts is a last resort before criminal prosecution is processed against taxpayers who do not comply.

“So the fact of the matter is that anyone who does not pay taxes will be subject to face the consequences regardless of who you are and it’s not just exclusive for faifeaus, because the law does not discriminate,” refuted Tuilaepa.

To that effect, the Prime Minister noted that like the PAYE income tax, government also does not discriminate when it comes to financial assistance for the wider community as approved by the Budget every year.

For instance, the annual government funded School Grant Assistance for private and mission schools including Early Childhood and Schools for people with Special Needs.

“Whether you pay taxes or not, it will not stop government from providing financial assistance from the School Grant Scheme.

“Since the grant assistance was launched in 1984 with a budget of $50-thousand tala, the budget has ballooned to more than $6 million tala,” continued Tuilaepa.

“And next year, the grant will increase by almost 100% to $13.2 million tala.”

 “But that does not include the government’s long term vision to pay salaries for teachers’ outside of the public government school system. And regardless of whether the benefactors of the grant assistance are paying taxes or not, government is not taking that into account when it comes to its school grant assistance.”

He noted that realizing such a huge undertaking would require the commitment of patriotic taxpayers to pay their dues.

“It’s a moral obligation for all tax payers to pay their dues as their contribution of love for their country.

“I can only again remind those who continue to oppose the government when it comes to paying taxes, to kindly practice what they preach,” he concluded.