Minister: ACC should use their “common sense”


Minister of Public Enterprises, Faumuina Wayne So’oialo has challenged one of the Corporations under his portfolio to consider a Stimulus Package for workers during these difficult times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leatinu’u said the Accidental Compensation Corporation should use their “common sense” and make a submission for a stimulus for Cabinet to consider, as it’s not the Minister’s job to instigate such initiatives.

Speaking on TV EFKS, the Minister said the ACC allocated $11 million tala for budget support in the financial year 2020-2021 as part of the former Government’s initiative close to the General Election by offering $50 tala for each person even babies, to a country of more than 200,000 population.

He then gave a comparable example of the recent $40+ million tala interim interest paid out by the Samoa National Provident fund to its members as a result of initiatives by the CEO and the Board of Directors.

According to the Minster, the ACC similarly has a Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors, that should be putting together a stimulus for its members.

“Keeping in mind when the new Government took office, the CEO and members of the Board were already appointed,” said Leatinu’u.

Leatinu’u reiterated it is not the Minister’s job to instigate such initiatives.

He pointed out the ACC paid out $11 million tala under the previous administration, but what about now with the difficult times faced by the workers both private and public; the Minister went on to question the inconsistency of ACC’s actions.

The Minister is adamant it’s the ACC’s duty to make such submissions, similar to what the National Emergency Operations Committee making recommendations for Cabinet’s consideration in line with the State of Emergency Orders.

The Minister also criticised the SNPF interim interest paid out last week. He pointed out that when it was close to the General Election the SNPF gave out a 10 per cent interim interest, but during the 50th anniversary which is in line with the COVID they paid out five per cent.

“When you weigh it out, which is far important, the General Election or the 50th Anniversary, “ asked Leatinu’u.

He concluded by calling out the CEO of the ACC, Muliagatele Makerita Matafeo to “wake up” and consider the concerns raised. Efforts were made to get comments from Muliaga but were unsuccessful as of press time.

The accident compensation was established in 1978 and it is a no-fault social insurance scheme with unlimited access to common law remedies, and as with any insurance system, it provides specific areas of cover and entitlement and collects premiums based on the cost of providing those entitlements.