15 May 2017

Call for tax incentives for American Samoa

4:53 am on 15 May 2017
Wali Osman

Wali Osman Photo: RNZI/Monica Miller

A United States Department of Interior economist Wali Osman says the economies of US territories would benefit if special tax incentives were offered to companies that set up in the insular areas.

This is the gist of a report he is working on, which will identify economic development projects that can be implemented right away, providing jobs and stimulating the economies.

Mr Osman met last week with the American Samoa business community to get their input on economic development strategies and recommendations.

The economist said the French government has funded hotel development in overseas territories like French Polynesia, with companies getting tax breaks to encocurage investment.

And he suggested a similar approach in American Samoa.

"What we want to convey to the new folks in town is that the territories are physically disadvantaged forever. Nobody can change this reality so what has to change is the institutional reality - perhaps make some exceptions to the tax law. Whether this is going to be accepted I cannot tell you."