22 Jun 2006

Samoa Parliament passes first budget after election

8:31 am on 22 June 2006

Samoa's parliament passed its first financial year budget for 2006/2007 without changes last night.

This is despite strong criticism from the Opposition of the new increase of 2.5 percent to the valued added goods and services tax or Vagst.

The new 12.5 percent vagst increase will be effective in three months time.

Both the Finance minister and Prime Minister have dismissed claims from opposition MPs that the new increase will cause more suffering for low income families.

Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielgaoi said government has collected millions from the tax to further improve roads and water supply throughout the country.

And, he said it will also help fund other government services such health and education.

The total expenditures for 2006/2007 budget amounts to about 150 million US dollars.