AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNMENT BEGINS NEGOTIATIONS ON RETIREMENT FUND LOAN

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)--- Negotiations have begun between the administration of American Samoa Governor Tauese Sunia and the Board of Directors of the Government Employees Retirement Fund for a government loan.

Earlier this month, Governor Tauese signed into law legislation which authorizes the government to borrow $US 13 million from the fund, to be repaid in 10 years at an interest rate of 8.5 percent.

The Governor says he will insist on getting the full $13 million that the Fono (legislature) approved, even though the Board has said that it will only consider a loan of up to $US 10 million.

Tauese earlier said that the Board's decision should be determined by the Retirement Fund Loan Law, as passed by the Fono.

The Governor said he hoped the Board would not let Board member and businessman Bart Judy vote on the loan request, as this would not be fair to the government. Judy is Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee, which has registered its opposition to the Governor's loan proposal.

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