US Shutdown Will Devastate Am. Samoa Economy: Treasurer

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Falemao Pili says 87 percent of territory’s funding is federal

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 2, 2013) – American Samoa Treasurer Falemao Pili says the United States Government shutdown will have a devastating impact on the territory's economy.

Mr. Pili says Governor Lolo M. Moliga has met with senior officials on Wednesday to discuss the implications of the shutdown.

He told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat that 87 percent of the territory's funding comes from Washington, "so absolutely we will be affected by it."

Mr. Pili says the shutdown will affect all areas of life in American Samoa, especially if the budget stalemate in Washington is not resolved soon.

"Hopefully the federal shutdown won't last that long because it will have a devastating effect on our economy as far as our cash flow is concerned - overall impact will be horrifying," he said.

[PIR editor's note: Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has ordered all local government operations, funded with federal money, be shut down. Samoa News reports that almost 2,000 local jobs, which rely on federal funding, will be affected.]

"We have thousands of employees that are employed by the different federal grants.

"But more importantly too is the disposable dollar that's going to be shut down going out to the economy. We will feel it in the economy in general. The overall impact - it will affect everything that we do here."

More than 800,000 US government workers will spend a second day on unpaid leave after the shutdown came into effect at midnight on Monday (local time), when the US Congress failed to meet a deadline to bring in a new budget.

The US President Barack Obama is blaming the Republicans' right-wing Tea Party movement for the shutdown after it opposed Obamacare - subsidised health insurance.

Mr. Pili says American Samoa should begin to feel the impact of the shutdown by next week, adding "hopefully we will not reach that point."

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