8 May 2007

Delayed Samoa power scheme at risk over ADB loan conditions

1:38 pm on 8 May 2007

The Samoa government is under increasing pressure to convince two villages of the benefits of a proposed hydropower plant on Savaii, as funds to build it may be withdrawn.

The Minister of Works, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau, is continuing to lobby villagers about the project's benefits, given the high cost of imported fossil fuels for power generation.

But our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says people remain concerned at the environmental impact of the proposed hydropower scheme, despite a recent report indicating that there would be little impact in the long term.

He says the Asian Development Bank has already agreed to help Samoa with the project to fulfill its goals of promoting sustainable development, setting aside an estimated 20 million US dollars for the scheme.

"They're very very concerned if the Asian Development Bank might turn around and say hey look, enough is enough. We've given you so much time to convince that part of your country to have the hydro power station established but unfortunately they've rejected it, so we've got to give these funds to somewhere else."

More talks between the government and villages will take place later this week.