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Senate passes amendment of $1Mil for Fono furnishing and equipment

rendering of new fono building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The administration bill which appropriates the sum of $3,100,000 from unbudgeted, unobligated and unexpended revenues from Fiscal Year 2022 to supplement the Fiscal Year 2024, was passed in third reading by the Senate last Friday with one amendment.

This amendment redirects the sum of $1 million which the governor proposed for the 2024 Flag Day celebrations, to help fund furnishing and equipment for the new Fono building.

The matter was deliberated during a hearing of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee last Tuesday and members wanted to know if this was the budget for this year’s Flag Day celebrations.

Committee Chairman Senator Utu Sala Poasa stated that he was not sure because it was not mentioned in the bill.

However, Senate President Tuaolo Manaia Fruean recalled that they had already passed $1 million for Flag Day celebrations but the proposed bill appropriates another $1 million for the same purpose.

Senator Muagututi’a M. Tauoa expressed his opposition to this proposed appropriation saying $2 million for Flag Day celebrations is too much money to spend on something that will be done and dusted in a few days, whereas that $1 million could be put to better use on something that will be used by Fono members for many years to come.

“Where would the Flag Day organizing committee use all that money in only a few days?” Muagututi’a argued. “The new Fono building is far more important because it is belongs to the people. The faipule and senators who will be using the Fono building are the people’s representatives who are their voice in this important branch of government.”

The dedication of the new Fono building is tentatively scheduled for June this year.

Last Friday, the Senate unanimously passed in third reading the proposed administration bill including the amendment which redirects the $1Mil initially proposed for the 2024 Flag Day festivities, to the funds earmarked for furnishings and equipment for the new Fono building.

The Senate did not change the other expenditures proposed by the governor in the bill.

  1. New Fono building equipage, incidentals and furnishings            $1,500,000
  2. Governor’s Special Projects for infrastructure projects      $400,000
  3. CJPA for Victims of Crime Compensation Program        $75,000
  4. Capital Improvements of the Jean P. Hayden Museum $125,000
  5. According to the bill, this Act shall become effective immediately upon passage by the Legislature and approval by the Governor due to the urgent need to assist in providing adequate funding for government operations.