30 Jul 2021

FAST now says it needs to delay Parliament convening

11:07 am on 30 July 2021

After previous calls for the Samoan Parliament to convene so a national budget can be passed, the ruling FAST Party now says there is no real need to rush to convene Parliament.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa said last Saturday that Parliament would meet "in the first opportunity" this week to pass a budget.

The Samoa Observer reports that Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, as saying Cabinet needs more time to screen and review the financial arrangements used by the former government of Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and his Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP).

Samoa prime minister Fiamē Naomi Mata'afa chairing her first FAST party cabinet meeting.

Samoa prime minister Fiamē Naomi Mata'afa chairing her first FAST party cabinet meeting. Photo: Eyespy Radio (Samoa) 87.5

The Ministry of Finance was instructed to prepare a budget using an article that allows 25% of the previous budget to operate until a full budget is prepared for Parliament to pass.

The Tuilaepa government had been using this provision since the 2020/2021 budget ended on 30 June which amounts to about 220 million tālā.

According to Fiame, wiith 25%, there is a figure, but there's a lack of supporting details even though the processes seemed to be followed for payments under the Emergency Budget.

She explained that the Ministry of Finance wanted Cabinet to use the budget they have prepared and announced by the caretaker prime minister last month.

"We still want our own Budget to deliver what the FAST Party has in place in its manifesto," said Fiamē.

Fiame said Parliament would likely meet in September.

Meanwhile, a FAST spokesperson says the legitimacy of the HRPP candidates who were not sworn-in within the required 45 days is still being determined as it has never happened before.