Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the 2013 Comprehensive Economic Strategy Report (CEDS) submitted to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for final approval on March 28, 2013, lacks critical information in the implementation of the strategy. In a letter to Governor Lolo M. Moliga, Congressman Faleomavaega urged the Governor and the Fono to take immediate action for diversifying American Samoa’s economy.
“The 2013 CEDS report is just the latest report to describe the urgent need to diversify our local economy,” Faleomavaega said. “I have advocated for diversifying our local economy for so many years now, it has been increasingly difficult to depend just on our tuna canneries with the increasing global competition from foreign countries,”
“The 2013 CEDS can be improved in a couple of ways. For example, there could have been better public outreach by holding town hall meetings to allow the public and the business community to provide recommendations and feedback. Additionally, a more detailed economic roadmap would help in assuring that our economic goals are met.”
“American Samoa is not alone in its need to improve its plan of action in achieving its economic goals. Statistically, some 80% of CEDS filed with EDA have plans of action that usually do not provide the guidance necessary to meet the goals. As we all know, there have been numerous economic reports conducted for American Samoa in the past 15 years. Our problem is once a report is submitted, there is limited action taken and no further evaluations made. A good example is the comprehensive economic study commission report that took two years to develop, and when it was completed in 2002, it was just filed away and not utilized,”
“The past reports have all indicated the need to diversify our economy. For example, for the past several months there have been several discussions held on the ma’afala breadfruit project. This is an example of a potential industry that can be part of adding a new industry to our economy. The breadfruit industry has a tremendous potential for growth since breadfruit is used in gluten free products, and we should pursue this matter as soon as possible.” Faleomavaega concluded.
A copy of the Congressman’s letter to Governor Lolo and the Fono can be found at his website at: www.house.gov/faleomavaega.