The FINANCIAL — If reforms addressing microeconomic constraints are advanced and expanded, Samoa will be well placed to return to sustained high rates of economic growth, says an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released on October 16.
The report, Reform Renewed: A Private Sector Assessment for Samoa, looks at constraints to investment and entrepreneurship, and endorses reforms that will benefit the private sector by improving productivity. It was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour in Apia.
“ADB, through its Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative in particular, has recently partnered with the Government of Samoa on a number of reforms, including secured transactions, electronic registries, business law reform, competition and consumer protection, and state-owned enterprises,” said Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Sydney. “The insights and recommendations in this private sector assessment offer ways these achievements can be built on to increase Samoa’s prosperity and economic wellbeing.”
The report recommends the government prioritize six areas: completion of secured transaction reforms; passing the new competition and consumer act; privatizing five state-owned enterprises; returning the Unit Trust of Samoa to its original mandate; reviewing regulations around foreign investment, business licensing and employment; and pursuing contracting out and public-private partnerships.
These reforms will promote private sector development and limit the role of the state in the economy, outcomes the report identifies as essential for Samoa’s long-term prosperity. It notes that the Government of Samoa is taking positive steps in that direction, highlighting reforms which have seen Samoa adopt global best practices in business registration.
Reform Renewed is the fourth of five private sector assessments (PSAs) being produced by the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) this year. The PSAs focus on the institutional and policy requirements for—and overcoming constraints to—broad-based private sector investment growth.
PSDI works with ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. It is cofinanced by the Government of Australia, the New Zealand Government, and ADB.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.