8 Jul 2008

Samoa government praises phone privatisation benefits

1:17 pm on 8 July 2008

The Samoa government says the answer to improving the services of the telecommunications company, SamoaTel, is to privatise it.

Anti-government politicians have called for the government to abandon its plans to privatise the state-owned company, saying SamoaTel is too valuable an asset.

The CEO of the Finance Ministry, Hinauri Petana, says the government wants Samoatel's services improved and extended - and at the same time kept affordable for the public.

She says the best way to do this is to put the company in the hands of private investors.

"In terms of competition and in terms of cost, capital cost - they are quite considerable and they can take a toll on any small island government's budget. So, some of these things is really by necessity that we look at these things now."

Hinauri Petana says there's still a lot of ground work, such as separating Samoa Post from SamoaTel, that needs to happen before the telecommunications company can be privatised.