Samoa
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2 more Opposition MPs sign Second Phase of $1m District Development Project

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 17 MAY 2023: Opposition Members of Parliament Loau Keneti Sio of Sagaga 1 and Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi of Faleata 3 signed the release of funds for the Second Phase of the $1 million District Development Project in a brief ceremony on Tuesday.

The HRPP Secretary, Lealailepule was one of several MPs who were very vocal in and outside Parliament against the project saying it was a lie and it will not eventuate and it created tension within his and other districts and delayed the project.

This caused some Faleata 3 members who believed in the Governments initiative to form their own District Council without the MP, in order to access the funding for their people.

However, one of the criteria of establishing a District Council under the project is that the MP is the Chairperson and after several consultations, Faleata 3 settled their differences and focused on the project for their residents benefit.

Sagaga 1 under the former Minister of Education, Loau Keneti Sio was another district that took a while to embrace the project.

Both MPs were all smiles when they happily signed the agreement to release the $150,000 under the second phase of the project.

These two districts are also qualified to receive funds of $425,000 for actual projects after a One on One Consultations with the Ministry of Women & Social Development which the project is under.

district faleata 3
district faleata 3

Faleata 3 Member of Parliament, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi signing the $150,000 Funding Agreement before the Minister of Finance, Mulipola Anarosa Molioo & the Minister in charge of the project, Leota Laki Lamositele.

Two other districts, Alataua West and Aiga ile Tai also received $150,000 each and also qualify for $425,000 to fund their actual development projects identified.

Presiding over the Fund Agreement signing were the Minister for Finance, Mulipola Anarosa Molio’o and the Minister for Women Social Development & Community, Leota Laki Lamositele.

Lealailepule and Loau believe “all good things come to those who are patient” as they signed the Funding Agreement.

Aiga ile Tai Member of Parliament Auapaau Mulipola is all geared up to put his districts development in motion.

8 districts qualify for the $425,000
Eight other districts have also qualified for the $425,000 after the ministry’s assessment and endorsement by the projects Steering Committee.

They will receive the first tranche of $425,000 for development after a One on One consultation with the Ministry.

The 8 district include: Alataua West, Faleata 3, Aiga ile Tai, Lotofaga, Vaimauga 1, Fa’asaleleaga 2, Safata 1 and Sagaga 1.

No district has yet received the full $1million tala funding as the financial year comes to a close soon and according to the Project Manager, Unasa Tiane Tooala, they are looking at the end of May but that depends on reports from each district.

All 51 districts have completed the First Phase of the project which is setting up the District Council offices with the $200,000 initial allocation.

Whilst some districts have just signed the Second Phase of the project, other districts have already started their development projects and are qualified for the final $425,000 which is the last tranche of the annual $1m allocation under the project.

These districts include Vaimauga 2, Vaimauga 4 and Faleata 2.

The new budget to be tabled on 30 May is expected to include a further allocation of $51 million tala for the Project which is the FAST Government’s initiative to decentralize development and funding for projects identified by the villages and districts themselves to meet their most urgent social and development needs.