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Samoa Parliament Debates 2024/2025 Budget: Focus on Sustained Growth and Development

The Samoa Parliament is currently engaged in critical discussions regarding the 2024/2025 national budget. Presented by Finance Minister Lautimuia Afoa Uelese Vaai, this budget aims to bolster Samoa's economic recovery and development following the global disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economic Growth and Projections

The budget projects a robust economic growth rate of 6.6% for the current fiscal year, a significant revision from the previously anticipated 5.0%. This optimistic outlook reflects the positive performance of Samoa's economy in the first half of the current fiscal year. Contributing factors include increased visitor arrivals, which surged by 81.2%, boosting visitor earnings to approximately $419.8 million tala, and a 2.2% rise in remittances, totaling $580.3 million tala​.

Budget Deficit and Fiscal Strategy

Despite the strong economic performance, the budget anticipates a deficit of 2.1% of GDP for the coming fiscal year. This deficit is deemed necessary to sustain the government's development agenda, which includes key initiatives aimed at socio-economic welfare and stability. The government emphasises a gradual fiscal consolidation and an accommodative monetary policy stance to support these efforts​ (Office of the Prime Minister)​.

Key Budget Initiatives

  1. Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Preparation:

  • Samoa will host the CHOGM in October 2024, with a budget allocation of $20 million tala. The funds will be used to enhance infrastructure and governmental services, ensuring that Samoa is well-prepared for this prestigious event. The CHOGM is expected to attract international visitors and investment, boosting the local economy​.

  1. People-Centered Programs:

  • The government continues to prioritise district development with a $1 million tala per district program. This includes educational sponsorships, agricultural development, and healthcare improvements. The budget also allocates $880,000 tala for enhancing school connectivity and increases funding for healthcare facilities and overseas medical treatment schemes​.

  1. Human Capital Development:

  • New initiatives include partnership grants for professional bodies and a scholarship scheme targeting active public servants. Additionally, the final phase of the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) will see salary increases for public servants, stimulating further economic activity​.

  1. Public Service Efficiency:

  • A new Ministry of Lands and Survey will be established effective July 2024. This is part of broader efforts to streamline government functions and improve the efficiency of public services​.

Macroeconomic Stability

The government's budget strategy emphasises sustaining economic growth while building resilience against external shocks. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects global growth at 3.2% for the current fiscal year, with Samoa's economy expected to benefit from this stable global outlook. The government also aims to maintain strong gross foreign reserves, estimated to remain above $1.5 billion tala, to support development projects and prepare for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting​.

As Samoa debates its 2024/2025 budget, the focus remains on sustaining growth, enhancing public services, and ensuring long-term economic stability. The initiatives outlined in the budget reflect the government's commitment to fostering a resilient and prosperous economy that benefits all Samoans.


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