22 Sep 2009

American Samoa cannery bid shocks senator

7:40 pm on 22 September 2009

A senator in American Samoa says he's shocked at the governor's offer to buy a local cannery that's about to close down.

The governor says he has made an offer to buy Chicken of the Sea Samoa Packing plant at Atu'u, which is due to close down on Sept 30.

The cannery currently employs more than 2000 people.

Senator Lualemaga Faoa says Governor Togiola Tulafono's plans seem out of the blue and more financing details are needed to see if it's going to be sustainable.

"Come in and tell the Fono what he's planning to do and how is he going to get the money? As you are aware the companies operation per year is over 200 million dollars a year."

Senator Lualemaga Faoa says he can't see how the Governor can afford or even consider such an expense at the moment.

But the Governor says the territoral Government can tap into the government's loan repayment account to fund the purchase of the Chicken of the Sea, Samoa Packing plant.

The closure of the cannery, one of two in American Samoa, means a major cut in the government's income.

The Governor says he will ask the Fono to authorise five million US dollars to be borrowed from the loan repayment account for this purpose.

That account had been set up to finance the repayment of a 20 million US dollar loan from the Retirement Fund.