30 Dec 2010

Government salaries hamper Samoa business expansion - claim

6:57 pm on 30 December 2010

The President of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce says high salaries and generous benefits offered by the government are behind a brain drain in the private sector.

Lemalu Sina Lima says because of the government's salary structure, high-caliber people are leaving the private sector.

She says trying to compete with government salary packages is one of the main factors driving up the cost of doing business in Samoa.

The others are high utility costs and high interest rates.

Lemalu Sina Lima says Samoa's electricity rate is the highest in the Pacific Islands Forum area, yet Samoa has the lowest fuel costs.

She says if banks in Samoa dropped their interest rates to six to seven percent like in Fiji, the number of non-performing loans would drop dramatically and businesses would have money not only to service loans but also expand their businesses.