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More districts to receive first payments under $1m Districts Development Project

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 05 DECEMBER 2022: Fifteen more constituencies are to sign Funding Agreements tomorrow to receive the initial payment under the $1 million tala District Development Project.

Under the project guidelines, $150,000 is paid to the districts when the Funding Agreement is signed having satisfied the requirements such as an audited account of the expenditure of the $200,000 already paid out to establish the district offices.

The $150,000 according to the Minister of Social Development, Leota Laki Lamositele Sio, is to operate the District Offices and pay for the 3 permanent staff and 13 Board members who will oversee the development project for each constituency.

This will leave a balance of $850,000 that will be out in two instalments for development projects approved by the District Councils subject to the completion of Development Plans and Budgets for each district.

Nine districts received $150,000 tala in her bank accounts last Friday having signed the Funding Agreements with the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Finance.

Speaking to the media after the signing ceremony, the districts representatives said they felt it was the beginning of the project following a lot of information going around that placed doubt if the project was going ahead or not.

district palauli 1
district palauli 1

Signing with the Palauli 1 district representatives.

Semau Iafeta, Deputy Chairman of the Gaga’emauga 1 District Council said they now realise the truth behind the Government’s promise during the campaign period before the general election last year.

For his district, the focus is on the development of agriculture and they will meet soon to discuss the next step, but the $150,000 is specifically for the operation of the council office.

Faasalelelaga 3 District Council Deputy Chairman, Masame Sulu Masame also had reservations about the $1m tala project.

“Our district has been waiting whether the project will become a reality,” Masame said. “But at least it is moving now even though it part of the money but at least it’s a start.”

He said the district will meet soon and consolidate the District’s Development Plan, but first on the agenda is to pay the council members allowances and other necessary things for the operation of the office.

For Faleata 2 district, although they appreciate the Government’s assistance through the $1 million development project, they are not relying on it fully.

The Deputy Chairperson, Mua’ausa Fiona Uili said they have applied for funding from other agencies such as the United Nations to cater for other district development projects.

According to the Minister for Social Development, Leota Laki Lamositele Sio, said the $150,000 is specifically for office operations, and the next instalment is $425,000 to start off the actual development projects within the districts.

The nine districts who have already signed the Funding Agreement are:

Faasalelelaga 1

Faasalelelaga 4

Gagaemauga 1

Gagaemauga 2

Faleata 2

Falealili 1

Falealili 2

Palauli 1

Palauli 2