PLAN FOR RESOLVING AMERICAN SAMOA’S FINANCIAL CRISIS BEING PREPARED

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By Lewis Wolman

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (January 27, 2000 – Samoa News)---Governor Tauese Sunia intends to soon reveal an "overall plan" to address the current financial crisis as well as the government's long-term financial health.

The plan is being written in the context of American Samoa's proposal for how to utilize the $18.6 million tobacco settlement loan from the federal government, which has already been approved by the U.S. Congress.

That loan sets aside $4.3 million to implement financial reform measures (such as early retirement payouts) and the plan now under preparation will specify how ASG would spend the $4.3 million.

The Governor must get the concurrence of the Secretary of Interior (Bruce Babbitt) before he can access the loan funds. The bulk of the loan funds ($14.3 million) are to be used to pay overdue bills, which ASG has been unable or unwilling to pay.

The Governor has previously indicated that he intends to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretary of Interior on how the $18.6 million would be spent before going to the Fono for its endorsement of the deal.

Two of the Governor's advisors, legal counsel Henry Kappel and ASDRO manager Jack Kachmarik, are preparing the financial recovery plan that will be part of the MOU.

Tauese is expected to review their progress when he meets Monday with Danny Aranza, the Interior official in charge of the islands. Aranza will be on island from Friday night to Monday night.

Another group of Interior officials, led by Aranza's deputy, Sandra King, will follow two weeks later.

According to Kappel, the plan will be ready for public review in less than two weeks.

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

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