15 Jun 2005

US department praises American Samoa fiscal progress

1:33 pm on 15 June 2005

The United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, David Cohen, says he agrees with American Samoa Governor, Togiola Tulafono that the local administration has made much commendable progress, and has a lot to be proud of in its efforts to control fiscal policy.

However, he says there is still much still to be done because the hole that was dug in the past was so deep.

Mr Cohen was responding to remarks by the Governor that he was disappointed and saddened with the DOI's decision to designate ASG a high risk grantee because it negated the hard work performed by government employees in improving the management and accountability of federal grants.

Cohen reiterated that it is not DOI's intention to use high risk as a badge of shame but rather as a tool to bring other agencies in to support American Samoa's reform efforts.

He said the high risk designation would not be removed until the American Samoa government could produce timely financial statements and audits with clean opinion.