14 Apr 2020

American Samoa can't front FEMA costs

9:41 am on 14 April 2020

American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga has pointed to a projected deficit of over $US5 million.

That figure is likely to go up by the end of the year, as the Governor puts in a request for the waiving of federal assistance to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

American Samoa is hoping the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, will waive a 25 percent cost share requirement.

Lolo said the territory is indebted to the federal government for all the assistance it receives.

But he adds its financial coffers had been overtaxed and overburdened by the effects of an earlier fight to contain the measles epidemic, weathering the three consecutive storms and now the current global pandemic.

Lolo said last month business operating hours shortened or ceased, daycare centres closed and tourism earnings effectively halted so revenue collections will further plummet.

The governor said his government can't front the 25 percent match to receive fund from FEMA.