Sustaining economic growth and the future

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Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi

For the best part of the last three decades this facility has contributed greatly to the economy of Samoa and its G.D.P. 

The former tenants Yazaki Samoa manufactured quality wire harnesses for export to the Australian vehicle manufacturing market since the early 1990s.  

Since then thousands of Samoans have been employed in this place enabling them to contribute to the wellbeing of their families and to the economic development of our country.

 At one time, Yazaki EDS employed 3,000 personnel. 

It was the largest single employees in Samoa. This meant that any closure of Yazaki Samoa in Samoa would have a significant adverse impact on the economy not only because of the loss of employment but more so because of the loss of export revenue A.C.C. levies and N.P.F contributions as well

Unfortunately for us the scaling back and eventual ceasing of vehicle manufacturing in Australia meant that this government had to face the reality and repercussions of Yazaki closing down operations in Samoa. 

The company announced this back in 2015 and the closure was finalized when the last Yazaki EDs personnel left the facility on 31 October two years of advance notice.

Since the announcement of the closure the government spared no effort to attract foreign companies and investors to come to Samoa to utilize this facility in order to reconstitute the lost jobs and the all important export opportunities. 

Cabinet identified this task as an urgent priority in the national interest and appointed a special committee made up of the Chief Executive Officers of the Ministry of Finance the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour and the Samoa Provident Fund to spearheaded these efforts 

In July, of this year after protracted negotiations the government secured two companies to begin operations occupying two of the building s of this facility and thereby successfully commencing the process of bringing back commercial architects that had been lost due to the closure of Yazaki

Fero Samoa Ltd is a Samoan registered company established in 2017 to relocate manufacturing from China by establishing a manufacturing facility in Samoa. 

 The Company is expected to initially employ 70 workers with scaling up of operations to 300 workers employed by 2020 and 500 workers by 2022. Products manufactured in Samoa will be exported to New Zealand and Australia. Fero Samoa’s parent company is Fero Ltd a contract manufacturing company specializing in assembly of wire harnesses based in Mt Wellington Auckland

Sleepwell International Ltd is a Samoan registered joint venture company co-owned by Sleepwell NZ Ltd out of Otara Auckland and SSAB Holdings of Samoa. The Company was established in 2017 and will be manufacturing beds and furniture for export to New Zealand Australia and the Pacific region as well as for domestic consumption. The company is expected to initially employ 50 workers with scaling up of operations to 200 workers by 2020 and 400 workers by 2022.

In addition to these two companies to which we are handing over the keys this morning the government through the efforts of the SNPF is very close to securing other possible tenants for Building 3 and other areas of this complex in order to maximize the economic output from this facility. 

Due to the different specializations of the companies operating here now and in the future, the government sought assistanc3e from our international development partners to assist in facility redevelopment and refurbishment.

 It is in this regard that we were able to secure grant funding assistance from the New Zealand government to assist the S.N.P.F in revitalizing this complex for the new tenants. A special note of gratitude is extended to his Excellency David Nicholson and his team at the New Zealand High Commission in Apia for their exemplary efforts in conjunction with the team at the S.N.P.F. in securing this commitment in a very short time.

On the local front I would like to extend a note of thanks to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Samoa National Provident Fund for working as one to ensure that the country is able to bounce back as quickly as it has in reconstituting from this facility

The government is committed to the economic stability and growth of Samoa as laid out in Priority Area 1 of the Strategy for the Development for the Development of Samoa (S.D.S) 2017 – 2020. 

This morning’s ceremony is one more milestone to be added to the government’s efforts in this priority area. 

The return of business to this facility means more exports to boost our G.D.P, more jobs for our people, more levies for the A.C.C., and more contributions for the S.N.P.F and sustained economic growth for our country into the future.

By the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are here in this morning to celebrate commencement of operations by both Fero and Sleepwell. 

I wish you both the best in your endeavors in the future.

God bless you all and May you all have a happy Xmas and New Year. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

Developed by Samoa Observer in Apia