HomeSamoaKEYNOTE ADDRESS: HON. LEATINUU WAYNE SO’OIALO, Minister for Commerce, Industry and Labour.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: HON. LEATINUU WAYNE SO’OIALO, Minister for Commerce, Industry and Labour.

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Launching of the Government COVID19 Assistance for the Private Sector; and the Workers Associations’ Grant (4th February 2022)

Lau Susuga le Fa’afeagaiga, Reverend Siaosi Matai’a,
Members of our Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Talofa Lava.

Today is a wonderful and important day for all of us who are gathered here today to witness, the
launching of two (2) of the Government of Samoa’s Assistance Programs namely:
(1) COVID19 Assistance for the Private Sector; and
(2) The Workers Associations Grant.

I would like to firstly speak on the COVID19 Assistance for the Private Sector.

It has been over two (2) years since the COVID pandemic impacted the whole world in various
unexpected ways.

For Samoa, our geographical location coupled with our dependence on imports for most of our
basic needs, has heavily impacted us as consumers and producers, due to the delay in shipment
for both imports and exports.

Furthermore, a significant impact on our economy is the loss of one of our major sources of
income – Tourism, through the closure of both local and international borders, thus preventing
incoming travel by tourists.

The Government has seen these continuous impacts of the pandemic on our local business
community, with some businesses having closed down, some businesses have made their
employees redundant, others have reduced the working hours of employees, to name a few.

As the Private Sector is the engine of growth of any economy, the commitment therefore, from
our Government is the purpose of why this Assistance of $10 million was initiated and
appropriated in the National Budget for the current Financial Year 2021/2022.

The Assistance will assist our business community towards any operational and/or
administrative work of their businesses. All businesses who were registered pre-COVID and
hold business licenses for year ending 2020 and 2021 are eligible to apply.
All eligible business will receive the following allocation:

Type of Business / Number of Registered Businesses in 2020 / Total Distribution
Sole Traders / 5,170 $1,500 x 5,170 /= $7,755,000.00
Partnerships / 77 $1,500 x 77 /= $115,500.00
Companies / 1,116 $1,800 x 1116 /= $2,008,800.00

AOFAIGA / 6,363 /$9,879,300.00

 Sole Traders and Partnerships: $1,500 per business license. All sole traders and
partnerships who have more than 4 business license/activities, only 4 will be considered
for grant disbursement.

 Companies: $1,800 per business license. All companies who have more than 5 business
license/activities, only 5 will be considered for grant disbursement.

Application forms are available from the Ministry and also online (on the MCIL website).
Businesses are encouraged to provide all the required details which will assist the committee in
expediting the process.

The Assistance will be administered through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour
and they will be working together with the Ministry of Customs and Revenue and the Ministry
of Finance. This subcommittee will assess and approve the disbursement of the funds to eligible
businesses.

As these are public funds, the eligible businesses are also required to report back on how these
funds were utilized for accountability purposes. The reporting form is also available from the
MCIL office and on the MCIL website.

I would like to thank the members of the Steering Committee that was established to deliberate
and develop the policy framework for this Assistance.

Secondly, the Workers Associations Grant.
As part of the vision to strengthen worker representation across all sectors of economic activity, the
Government through the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour has initiated the Worker
Association Grant.

This assistance will be an annual fixture and directed towards worker organizations sitting on the
Samoa National Tripartite Forum. The forum has been a longstanding platform for discussion of
national labour and employment policies, legislation and strategies.

Using the principles of social dialogue and tripartite consultation, representatives of Government,
employers and workers are able to have their voices heard in the development of important labour
and employment matters to ensure that all constituents are sharing in the fruits of economic
development.

Therefore, the members on this forum are positioned to ensure issues important to workers are
addressed across all occupations including private and public sector, and specifically nursing and
maritime workers.

The total assistance of $20,000 Samoan Tala will be disbursed to four (4) Worker Associations with
each association receiving $5,000 Tala. These associations include:

  1. Samoa Workers Congress

2. Samoa Nurses Association

3. Public Service Association

4. Samoa Seafarers and Maritime Association

The grant is intended to support the administrative costs and importantly planning of each recipient
in rolling out their respective programs. Overall, the initiative will enable organizations to improve
their representation of member’s interests through various platforms.

We have a long road to recovery; and working together as a nation during these difficult times
will be the guiding star to our journey.

I wish you all the best, stay safe and may our Heavenly Father continue to protect and watch
over Samoa.

Ia manuia le tatou fa’amoemoe.
SOIFUA

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