Monday night's Parliament session concluded with Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Olo Afoa Fiti Vaai pointing out a number of issues that need improvement in terms of infrastructure.
One of the issues the Minister highlighted is the lack of transparency of the new smart meter, whereas it does not show how many units a customer has purchased, rather it just shows the dollar figures.
This was raised by Cabinet Ministers and the same concerns are voiced by the public, hence the move to suspend the rolling out of the smart meters while they await a report from the company in America that owns the software.
The Minister said it is not difficult to go back to the cash power system; while the smart meter is adaptable to the latest technology, the Government cannot ignore the complaints by the public on the number of issues they have encountered since the smart meters have been installed.
The Minister further highlighted, new electricity connections on average a year is 15 households, but since the reduction of fees, there are now 85 new connections yet its only three months since the implementation of reduction in fees.
In terms of road infrastructure, the Minister said they have a long way to go.
During one of the road projects opening, the Constituency made note this is the third time the same road has been officiated and so this means, this is the third time this specific road has been fixed, yet there are numerous road projects that need assistance, adding that this is quite concerning.
Another issue the Minister noted is that some families intervene when the Government is about to expand the road and fix the roads and its sad when that happens, but the Government cannot do anything about it.
Regarding the water connection across the Country, Olo said since taking office some seven months ago, to date more than 5,000 families have connected to clean water for the first time.
Some villages that operate under the Samoa Independent Water Scheme are now wanting to switch to the government’s water, due to sanitising issues.
The Minister said the Samoa Water Authority is happy to assist the villages that want to switch.
Prior to the Cabinet Members taking over the floor, Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa pointed out the need to allow the Minister’s whose budget is deliberated to address Parliament, rather than the usual norm, where Cabinet Ministers each take a turn to address issues raised by Members of Parliament.
Parliament continues today while they deliberate the First Supplementary budget of $21 million tala for additional expenditures which $19.47 million comes from additional Grants and $4.67 million is from the reshuffled existing expenditure items.