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Analysing Samoa's FY2024/25 Budget


Leader of the Opposition & Minister of Finance-Photo: Samoa Parliament

Op-Ed: The Samoa budget for 2025, presented by the Minister of Finance, Lautimuia Uelese Afoa Vaai, is focused on promoting sustainable economic growth, social development, and climate resilience. The budget aims to achieve a 2.1% GDP deficit through heightened tax compliance and external grants. Key priorities include:

  • Hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

  • Advancing the District Development Program.

  • Enhancing education and healthcare.

  • Supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises.

Public debt is anticipated to decrease, and the budget emphasises infrastructure development, including airport upgrades and the construction of new markets. It also prepares for potential economic challenges through strategic investments and fiscal consolidation.


HRPP's Cautious Stance

While the government's budget is commendable for its visionary scope, the HRPP raises valid concerns that cannot be overlooked. The opposition endorses the CHOGM funding but emphasises the dangerous over-reliance on donor partners. With approximately SAT$805 million of the budget funded from domestic revenue, the remaining balance hinges precariously on external aid.

HRPP's leader, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, warns that this dependence leaves Samoa vulnerable, as donor priorities can shift, potentially redirecting funds away from crucial projects. The opposition highlights the need for sustainable revenue streams and fiscal discipline to reduce this reliance and ensure long-term financial stability.


If the Government were to take one important point from the HRPP's letter to the editor, it should be the concern about the heavy reliance on donor funding for the national budget.


Key Point: Reducing Dependence on Donor Funding

Rationale:

  1. Financial Independence: Excessive reliance on external donors for budgetary support can leave Samoa vulnerable to changes in donor priorities and global economic conditions. Building a more self-sufficient financial system is crucial for long-term stability and independence.

  2. Sustainability: While donor funds are valuable, creating sustainable revenue streams through improved tax collection, economic diversification, and robust financial management practices will ensure that Samoa can maintain and fund its initiatives independently.

  3. Risk Management: Reducing dependency on external aid mitigates the risk of sudden funding cuts or redirections, which can disrupt national projects and social programs.

Actionable Steps:

  • Enhance Tax Compliance and Revenue Collection: Implement measures to broaden the tax base and ensure efficient tax collection to increase domestic revenue.

  • Diversify the Economy: Invest in sectors like agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing to create a more balanced and resilient economic structure.

  • Fiscal Discipline: Maintain strict fiscal policies to manage expenditures and prioritise investments that offer long-term economic benefits.


The government's budget presents a comprehensive and visionary roadmap for national development. Taking in the Opposition call for greater financial independence, Samoa can achieve sustainable progress and resilience, securing a brighter future for all its citizens.





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