20 Aug 2004

Samoa's finance minister signals possible tax breaks for poor

1:57 pm on 20 August 2004

Samoa's finance minister says the government is considering giving tax breaks to the poor as it prepares the country to join the World Trade Organisation.

Misa Telefoni says although Samoa is still in the negotiation stage with the WTO, it's a quetsion of when, not if, they will join the organisation.

Mr Telefoni has warned the private sector they need to lift the quality of their service in preparation for competing with transnational providers.

Misa Telefoni says joining the WTO means Samoa will go from import revenues of 70 percent to nil, so it will have to move agressively in other areas.

"That's why we're now in the twelve and a half percent VAGST bracket. We want to bring down income tax even further, and perhaps raise the minimum level to ten thousand. It's six thousand at the moment. So hopefully if we re-investigate our tax structure we might put up the minimum rate at which people start to pay tax and that'll be a sufficient tax break for the lower echelons."

Misa Telefoni