17 Dec 2014

Caution urged on Samoa Citizenship bill

9:09 am on 17 December 2014

A Samoan government minister has cautioned against passing a bill granting Samoan citizenship to foreigners who make substantial investments in the country.

The Associate Minister of Women, Community and Social Development, Gatoloa'ifaana Alesana Gidlow, says the Citizenship Investment Bill could create tension and stir up problems in Samoa.

Gatoloaifaana told the Samoa Observer a benefit of being a citizen of Samoa is the ability to buy and own land and she asked if Samoa is so poor that it has to sell its God-given rights.

The CEO of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Auelua Samuelu Enari, says the bill is intended to promote investment in Samoa and it ensures those granted citizenship abides by the law.

The bill, which was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, says a foreigner must be a permanent resident for three years before being considered for citizenship.