AMERICAN SAMOA MAY LOSE $US 2 MILLION IN U.S. CAPITAL FUNDING

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (June 30, 1998 - Samoa News)---Governor Tauese Sunia has indicated that American Samoa may have to "bite the bullet" and accept a U.S. Senate Subcommittee’s ruling directing the Secretary of the Interior to withhold $2 million of Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for American Samoa.

The funds are to be withheld until the Governor certifies that the American Samoa Government (ASG) has implemented a repayment plan for hospital debts and has developed a plan to fund and manage off-island medical referrals.

If the two steps have not been taken by June 31, 1999, the Secretary is directed to use the $2 million to pay the medical creditors.

The 25 percent reduction in the territory’s $10 million CIP funds for the new fiscal year was approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee as a result of pressure from Senator Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, with the support of Congressman Faleomavaega Eni, pushing the American Samoa Government to implement a repayment plan to pay off debts owed by the LBJ Tropical Medical Center to health providers in Hawaii.

Governor Tauese, during an interview several weeks ago, had indicated to Samoa News that "if push comes to shove," American Samoa may have to forfeit CIP funds of $10.1 million for the next fiscal year, if he could not convince the U.S. Congress to consider a plan which he had proposed.

The Governor’s plan to use CIP money to repay a proposed loan to repay ASG’s debts did not received support from Washington.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to samoanews@samoatelco.com

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