New Year’s Address Prime Minister 1st January, 2023

As we prepare to usher in 2023, we are naturally inclined to reflect on the past year and capture the notable moments of our experiential journey.
To say that 2022 was a year of many challenges is an understatement and it is a marvel that despite the obstacles, we have been able to keep our sails on course in this 6oth lap of our independence anniversary.
On this first day of January 2023 it is fitting that we give praise and thanksgiving to God for his grace over us. The Head of State’s Christmas message reassures us all of the joyous spirit of celebration
Our history as navigators of the Ocean continent we live in, reaffirms our resilience and adaptive capacity that builds our confidence and security to sail with faith despite the odds.
Our Christian faith as a nation will always remind us that God is never far away from us in both the good and bad times to steer our journeys through life.
We will always remember the lives lost during both health crises. Could we have done better?
Perhaps we can only rely on hindsight for the answer! The fury of the COVID 19 pandemic has come and gone albeit uncertainties still linger.
Opening our borders in August brought in a rush of visitors to reunite with families and friends. An informed decision was made to do so when we demonstrated that we had achieved above expectations with vaccination outcomes.
Let us pay tribute to the commitment and sacrifice of all our frontline workers at our borders, health workers, our development partners and all our communities for the high level of coordinated cooperation and selfless service.
According to the latest figures from the Central Bank, our economy remains stable with revenue collection surpluses.
Remittances continue to increase, and there is a notable rise in the number of people returning to farming and agriculture for subsistence and commercial operations.
Entrepreneurship is gradually returning. I thank you all for taking the initiative and using innovation to assist our families without waiting for the government to take the lead.
We are persisting with reforms to ensure the meaningful engagement of our communities in the development process as it is imperative for everyone to work together and strengthen networks and partnerships. In this connection I acknowledge with gratitude all efforts made to ensure efficient service delivery to our communities throughout this past year.
I thank the Councils of Chiefs, the church leaders and social institutions for working closely with the government to promote the national District program.
The impacts of global events including the Russian war in the Ukraine have reached our isolation and we are feeling the rise in fuel and food prices.
We need to generate homegrown solutions through the implementation of the Pathway for the Development of Samoa and seeking innovative financing options to address the pervasive impacts of climate change that threaten our existence.
Samoa continues to be actively engaged and plays a significant role in international and regional dialogues where important issues key to enhancing our resilience are negotiated; including climate change; peace and security, labour mobility, health, education and food security.
It is important that we add our voice to a collective consensus in order that we be heard.
We have been in the thick and thin of a highly contested Blue Pacific region; however we have maintained advocacy for countries to make sovereign and informed decisions on issues that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved.
We participated in a number of Pacific summits including a Pacific – US Summit at which we promoted the importance of all-inclusive summits with all Pacific Island Forum members involved. We have hosted many high level visits including of foreign ministers around the issue of regional security.
2022 has been a huge success for Samoa on the sports front. Our congratulations go out to all our national teams namely weightlifting, boxing, rugby league and rugby sevens and fifteen a side for their stellar performances internationally.
You have flown the tri-colours of our flag into all corners of the globe with the help of technology. Thank you for being exemplary ambassadors for Samoa.
I acknowledge with appreciation the support of our development partners. While some are modifying modalities for aid delivery to gain efficiency and speed up spending there is value in accepting more use of country systems developed through extensive reform programs. I commend the positivity of our public in delivering services inside and outside of government including in the private sector and civil society organisations.
Thank you for your commitment to serve our people.
To the church leaders of various denominations, thank you for uplifting Samoa in your prayers every day.
The Scriptures remind us that only through prayer, thanksgiving and supplication shall enable us to know and respond accordingly to God;s plan for Samoa. For this purpose, government continues to commit to the week of prayer and fasting in partnership with the National Council of Churches.
The National Week of Fasting and Prayers will commence on Sunday, 8th to Friday 13th January, 2023.