18 Feb 2011

Slow spending in American Samoa recovery

1:59 pm on 18 February 2011

American Samoa has been awarded nearly 166 million US dollars under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act but had only spent 29 million by the end of last month.

Lawmakers have expressed concern at the slow pace at which the funds are being disbursed, especially when the territory needs new investment to jump-start its economy and create new jobs.

The governor's office has the largest amount unspent - 47 million from a total of 53 million awarded.

The information was made available to lawmakers by the executive director of the American Samoa Economic Stimulus and Recovery Office, Pat Galeai.

He says one reason the spending is so slow is because departments are not in compliance with the regulations governing the recovery funds.

He says some also find the reporting requirements overwhelming, while the disbursement by Treasury is slow.