24 Aug 2017

Appetite grows in Samoa for restrictions on foreign owned businesses

11:27 am on 24 August 2017

A prominent academic in Samoa has joined the call for restrictions on foreign-owned businesses in local villages.

The National University of Samoa's Leasiolagi Dr Malama Meleisea agrees with Samoa's prime minister about the need to protect local businesses.

Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, last week, alluded to potential regulatory changes to keep smaller retail operations for Samoan business people only.

Three village councils this year have banned Chinese nationals from opening businesses on customary lands.

The director of Samoa Studies, Leasiolagi, said it's about what's best for village communities.

"We can't invest in huge companies like construction or whatever. We can only invest in small shops and stuff like that so let us claim that as part of our own area of operation and leave the rest to people who can afford better," he said.

Leasiolagi said village council bylaws may give the impression they're unfairly aimed at Chinese people because they're the most visual and prominent foreign group to set up businesses in recent times.