23 Aug 2012

American Samoa business group unsure of bright outlook for economy

11:46 am on 23 August 2012

The American Samoa's government bright outlook on the territory's economy doesn't sit well with the local Chamber of Commerce.

The proposed budget for the new fiscal year, which begins October 1st is 497.2 million US dollar, 114.3 million more than the current year budget.

Governor Togiola Tulafono says the surge in local revenue collection for Fiscal Year 2013 of 77.3 million compared to prior years could possibly signal an economic rebound.

He also added future growth can be further sustained through steady job creation in a vibrant private sector.

But the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, David Robinson, says the forecast of 16% in local revenues is hard to fathom given the present state of the economy.

"We are still suffering from declining disposable incomes, we are still suffering from high inflation, which is in double digits, we are still faced with high unemployment, which is probably over 20 percent, if not a lot more than that, and it's difficult to see where a 16 percent surge in local revenue collection is going to come from."

David Robinson says while there are spinoffs from the Samoa Tuna Processors renovations and rebuilding, the hiring may not start until later next year which would throw the projections in the budget off.