AMERICAN SAMOA LEGISLATURE IDENTIFIES GOVERNMENT’S FINANCIAL PROBLEMS

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (August 21, 2000 - PIDP/CPIS)---Excessive spending for personnel services and a revenue shortfall are two major financial problems faced by the territorial government, according to a financial report by the Legislature.

The report, compiled by the Legislative Financial Office and released last week, covers the first six months of fiscal year 2000. According to the report, eight government agencies had excessive personnel spending, including an increase in the hiring of workers.

The excessive includes overtime payments, pay raises, promotions and job reclassifications totaling more than $700,000, according to the report.

The Legislative report also noted that there is a shortfall in revenue collection of approximately $10.8 million. And it estimates that if this shortfall continues it anticipates a $21.7 million, or 40%, shortfall in revenue collection by the end of the current fiscal year.

The fiscal year ends on September 30, 2000.

Jack Kachmarik, Manager of the government's Territorial Office of Financial Reforms, said on Tuesday that the "rough estimates" right now, would place the shortfall in revenue collection at between $10 million and $12 million.

"This shortfall is hurting the government right now in meeting its obligations," Kachmarik pointed out.

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