13 Jan 2011

American Samoa businesses wary about cost hikes

7:51 pm on 13 January 2011

Members of the Chamber of Commerce in American Samoa are bracing themselves for increased costs but support the government in its revenue raising efforts.

The territory is facing a projected 7.2 million US dollar shortfall in the payroll from reduced excise, individual and corporate taxes in an effort to stave off a reduction in work hours for government employees or cutting staff numbers.

The chamber's chairman, David Whitby, says either way, it will mean further increases for many businesses which have been struggling over the past year to recover from the 2009 September tsunami, and the economic impact of reduced cannery operations and an increased minimum wage.

But he says it's time to collectively move forward and be positive.

"If we can look to the future and what we are looking for is whatever decision is made it's going to bring some pain, it's going to bring some hurt. It is a very difficult time for the government to have to make these measures, but we hope that they come along at a good pace, that it doesnt keep delaying decisions, whichever way we go, so that the territory, the government, the businesses can work together to look towards the future."