17 Mar 2005

Samoa exporters blame focus on tourism for decline

3:01 pm on 17 March 2005

The head of the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters says its members are suffering because the government is focusing on tourism.

The association's president, Papali'i Grant Percival, was responding to Central Bank figures which say the lowest level of export revenue in four years was recorded in January this year.

Earlier this year, Central Bank said exports earnings fell by more than 4 million US dollars to last year compared to 2003.

The Bank says this meant the merchandise trade deficit in 2004 was 20 percent higher than in 2003.

Papali'i says the export sector is failing badly.

He says the government is too reliant on tourism and everything else is left to chance.

Papali'i says the government has put all their money on tourism and there's no support for manufacturing.

The opposition has also criticised government for neglecting the agriculture sector, saying there has been no support for farmers.