7 Oct 2004

Samoa government dismisses overseas remittances claims

11:29 am on 7 October 2004

Samoa's acting Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, has dismissed claims by the opposition, that overseas remittances aren't contributing to government projects.

This follows the Opposition leader, Asiata Saleimoa Vaai, saying that the acting prime minister didn't understand economical matters, as remittances contributed 90 per cent of foreign reserves and enabled Samoa to buy goods from overseas.

Mr Vaai says without remittances, cabinet ministers and MPs wouldn't be able to get publicly funded cars and overseas travel, especially when export revenues were low.

The Opposition front bencher, Leilua Manuao, says remittances have also paid for the government's electricity, water and telephone bills, and without them the economy would ground to a halt.

But Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, says remittances paid go directly to relatives, and it can't be said they're paid solely for the government to do its work.