22 Dec 2003

Samoa finance minister says economy in good shape

11:23 am on 22 December 2003

Samoa's Minister of Finance, Misa Telefoni, says continuing increases in remittances and tourism have assisted strong growth in the country's commercial sector with positive effects on other services such as hotels, restaurants, transport and communications.

Delivering his supplementary budget address, the minister said this had ensured that the country had enough foreign funds to pay for imports during the year up to October.

He noted that garments had become the country's major export accounting for 35 per cent of total export receipts, while the former export leader, fishing, fell to 32 per cent.

The minister blamed the decline in fish exports on unfavourable weather and structural problems in the sector.

A drop of nearly one million dollars in export income increased the trade deficit, but strong growth in remitances and tourism saw an overall surplus of four point three million in the balance of payments up to October.