Senate gets update on ASG's Capital Improvement Projects
The hearing of the government’s special projects this morning started with an apology from the Chief of Staff Loa Tuimavave Tauapai Laupole regarding the incomplete Capital Improvement Project report attached to the budget before the Budget and Appropriations committee.
According to Loa, the figures outlined in the CIP report are from the 2023 budget.
The accurate report contains the new figures of $11.6 million that the American Samoa Government received from the Federal Govt.
Senator Utu Sila Poasa asked the Chief of Staff for an update on the Gataivai Container Yard and the Satala Slipway projects.
Loa said there is no budget allocation for the container yard.
However, plans are in place to upgrade the Satala slipway to ensure vessels can be easily pulled onto the cradle for repair work. Regarding the American Samoa Power Authority projects, Chief of Staff says it has to do with old water pipes being replaced and it’s ongoing. These development projects started from the West side.
When queried by Utu on the delay for the project to complete, Loa said underground galvanized water pipes need to be fixed. These pipes were laid during the time of the war and ASPA requires ample time to replace them to ensure clean and safe drinking water.
Loa also mentioned the challenges encountered by the staff of ASPA, such as climate change affecting coastal villages and low-lying areas of American Samoa.
When the President of the Senate Tuaolo M. Fruean took the floor, he asked Loa if anyone from the CIP division could amend these projects after the Governor approves them. Loa said no, this practice does not happen within the CIP division.
Tuaolo then asked about the 100K subsidy intended for the Department of Agriculture, yet it was used to hire staff.
Loa apologized on behalf of the director of Agriculture, citing his commitment to secure funds for the benefit of his staff and agriculture developments in the Territory.
Tuaolo also wanted to know if a company is cleaning the town of Pago Pago because he noticed with great concern the amount of trash dumped on the river banks of Pago Pago village. Loa responded that a company is doing the upkeep of the Pago Pago town area, Lions Park Nuuuli area.
The problem, according to Loa, is the trash seen in the ocean during heavy downpours comes from the hills behind Nuuuli and Pago Pago, which people sometimes use as dumping grounds.