Economic development and infrastructure top priorities for admin
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Economic and infrastructure development, along with climate change, are among priorities that Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga shared with lawmakers in his address to the Fono joint session last week Monday as well as in two separate reports distributed to lawmakers that same day.
In his “Executive Summary” final fiscal year 2022 budget report, the governor explained that, “economic development and infrastructure in our territory is a priority and a mandate to build and diversify our economy to create jobs and business opportunities for people.”
He said current projects in progress or in the pipeline “are critical to addressing how best to deliver healthcare services to our residents, state of the art educational facilities to train our kids, monetizing the Hawaiki cable excess capacity and delivering reliable broadband services, and continuing to repair our road infrastructures.”
For seaports and airports, the governor says these are “precious assets critical in developing our economy” and ASG is committed to continuing the current work at the Pago Pago International Airport “so we can eventually completed the needed state of the art upgrades similar to international airports abroad.”
Furthermore, improvements to the main wharf and dock area are critical to adequately accommodate incoming shipping and freight of container goods as well as welcoming visitors to the territory.
According to the governor, development of the downtown area from the museum, boardwalk and other accommodations and amenities are key to attracting visitors. It’s also central to drawing local residents to open spaces to relax and enjoy the scenery.
He also says that the Lions Park and Sports Complex development plan is critical to serve the community during special events. Additionally, a high-tech development environment with its amenities will encourage students to follow their dreams “to gain knowledge given available tools and resources, and learn to persevere and excel.”
“It’s an environment with a little bit of everything to rejuvenate and where people can congregate to watch events, relax, and have fun,” he said.
During a cabinet meeting late last month, Commerce Department director Petti T. Matila presented the Lemanu Administration’s ambitious development of Lions Park in Tafuna that calls for a new educational tech center, a new hospital, a technology park and an upgrade to the shoreline — which includes a recreational therapeutic park. (See Samoa News online July 6th for details.)
MANU’A & SWAINS
The governor also informed the Fono that economic development of the Manu’a Island Group as well as Swains Island “must be a priority, saying that ASG will continue to have a “long term commitment for Manu’a development.”
He said focus on sustainable agricultural and fishing must be enhanced for both commercial and subsistence purposes. In addition, transportation through air and water must be consistent and reliable for those who fish and farm for commercial purposes.
“Reliable transportation is critical to any economic development for Manu’a and Swains,” he said.
The Administration’s 2021 “Mid Year Performance Report” also distributed to lawmakers revealed that it has on the drawing board a plan to enhance transportation to and from Manu’a that includes acquiring a Landing Craft Unit (LCU) to provide heavy lifting capabilities year-round. (See Samoa News online edition last Friday for details.)
Consistent with the Biden Administration’s mandate, the governor said, “we believe climate change is an issue that reaches four corners of the globe and requires a global solution. We support efforts by Washington to combat climate change especially living on our island and dealing with the issue regarding sea level rising.”
Additionally, “we must continue to pursue the path towards the use of Alternative Sources of Energy away from fossil fuels and carbon.”
“We must continue to upgrade our solar farms, invest in wind and perhaps explore the potential conversion to electric vehicles, as well as other sources of alternative fuel,” he said. “Our commitment will provide a pathway towards a cleaner and more sustainable environment for today and future generations to come.”