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Samoa PM firm on Church vs. Govt. tax dispute

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi  [SN file photo]

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has called on the General Secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.), Reverend Vavatau Taufao, to do his job. 

He wants him to explain to Ministers of the Church – including the Elders Committee - that the Government will not delay the implementation the new law to tax the Head of State and Church Ministers, simply because their Church is dragging their feet.  

Tuilaepa made the call in Parliament when he was responding to concerns raised by Gagaifomauga No. 3 Member of Parliament, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt. 

According to La’auli, the C.C.C.S. has taken a stance and has asked Ministers not to oblige until the Elders make a decision during the Malua annual conference later this year. He said the order was made in a letter from the “Malua Fono Tele.” It was discussed by their parish at Alamagoto last week. 

La'auli pleaded with the government to delay the implementation of the law until the Church meets. 

But Prime Minister Tuilaepa flatly denied the request. 

He took the floor and informed Parliament that he too has received a copy of the letter. 

 “My response to the Secretary is that your duty to the Elders is to explain that there will be no more delay,” Tuilaepa said.  

“Besides, what other delay are they looking for? The Bill was approved in June (2017), but implementation was only in effect this month (1 January, 2018.).”  

According to Tuilaepa, the Secretary General was informed a month prior to the implementation of the taxation law.  

“I informed the Secretary that there is only a month and a few days left, then there will be no more delays.”    

Tuilaepa made it clear that ample time was given and there will be no more delays.  

“I also told the Secretary,” he said, “you were a Professor at the N.U.S. You are a well-educated person, you go and explain to the Elders that there will be no more delays in the implementation of Church Ministers taxation.” 

Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi, who is also a senior member of C.C.C.S. also commented on the issue. 

Read more at Samoa Observer