1 Mar 2011

Samoa PM accused of holding country back on UN list

2:07 pm on 1 March 2011

An election candidate claims Samoa's caretaker prime minister, Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, is holding the country back by resisting its graduation to the status of Developing Country.

Afualo Dr Salele, who is running for the Tautua Samoa Party in this week's elections, says after 30 years of government by the Human Rights Protection Party, Samoa remains on the United Nations list of the world's Least Developed Countries.

Samoa was scheduled to graduate to Developing Country status last year but damage caused by the 2009 tsunami delayed this move until 2013.

Tuilaepa has argued that the UN must take account of the vulnerability of countries to natural disasters.

He wants Samoa to remain there to qualify for soft term loans, but Afualo Dr Salele, who is an economist, says these loans benefit only a few and the gap between rich and poor is widening.

He also says a dependency on soft loans kills entrepreneurship.