15 December, 2017
Member’s Pre-Sitting Briefing Summary 10th November 2017

Member’s Pre-Sitting Briefing Summary 10th November 2017

Member’s Pre-Sitting Briefing Summary

NOVEMBER

Members of Parliament, met today, Friday 10 November at the Media Centre, Tuanaimato at 9.30am for their usual Member’s Briefing. The Attorney General and Chief Executive Officers for the Ministry of the Prime Minister, SIFA, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority, and the Totalisator Agency Board provided overviews of the objectives and contents of 6 bills to be tabled in the House on Monday 13th November. A summary of these presentations and the main issues raised by Members is provided.

(1) Fire and Emergency Service Amendment Bill 2017

Presenter: Lelevaga Faafouina Mupo – Chief Executive Officer

Responsible Authority: Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA)

The Chief Executive Officer for the Authority presented on the background and objectives of the Bill, stating that the amendment proposes to include the definition for the term ‘hot works’ and to amend section 41(2) of the existing Act (Fire and Emergency Service Act 2007) to provide the Authority with the power to issue ‘hot works’ permit to avoid and minimize the risks of fire and explosions in any hot works.

Members raised a number of similar concerns particularly in regards to the issuing of permits, whether a permit was warranted when a simple form of hot works (welding) was carried out by individuals in their homes, or whether permits were only required for businesses. The Chief Executive responded that permits would only be issued to qualified businesses that have satisfied the requirements. Another member queried the cost of the permit, as it was not listed in the bill. The Minister of Finance, Hon. Sili Epa Tuioti, responded on behalf of the Fire and Emergency Authority, stating that there is currently no set fee for the permit, and that the amendments primary intention is to develop ease of control by providing the Authority (FESA) with the power to issue warrants only to qualified businesses who have the capacity and knowledge to safely and effectively perform any form of hot works in Samoa. The Chief Executive Officer thanked the Members of Parliament for their time and concluded his presentation.

(2) Constitution Amendment Bill (No.3) 2017

Presenter: Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff – Attorney General

Responsible Ministry: Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Attorney General informed the members that the amendment clearly stipulates that any person holding the Office of the Head of State, is eligible to vacate the Office for only 2 terms. Members raised a few concerns, such as what the practice would be when and if there were no more members of the Council of Deputy and whether there were any plans to change the title of the Head of State to ‘Governor General’ if the holder is not a descendant of Tama Aiga. Another member recommended that the Head of State position should not be voted, if the term has been set to only 2.The Attorney General took note of the concerns and queries made by members and stated that the final say for any bill or agenda comes from the Parliament.

(3) Gaming Control Bill 2017

Presenter: Tuala Siaki Tuala – Chief Executive Officer

Responsible Ministry: Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Chief Executive Officer read out the objectives of the Bill stating that the Bill aims to regulate gaming and gambling activities and combine all matters which were dealt with under the Acts that are to be repealed by the Bill. The CEO stated that in order to meet the modernisation standards and different gambling and gaming methods practiced in Samoa, the Bill tries to enforce control through the provisions of the bill, as well as generating an income through issuing license to different gambling and gaming businesses.

There were mixed concerns raised in regards to the impacts of betting and gambling on society; some members argued that it was a societal hazard which should not be encouraged in families, with specific regards to TV Bingo, while other members stated that it was an individual choice and freedom on what goes on in the privacy of one’s home. Other concerns raised were in regards to whether charitable fundraisings and fundraising activities such as Bingo and Raffle for schools and churches required licenses.

The Chief Executive Officer stated that fundraising activities for educational and religious purposes do not require licenses, however, with charitable activities; it is the responsibility of the Authority to follow-up whether the funds collected were actually donated to charity.

(4) Trustee Companies Bill 2017

Presenter: Tootooleaava Dr. Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa

Responsible Authority: Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA)

The Chief Executive Officer provided an informative presentation on the objectives and background of the bill stating that it proposes to repeal the out-dated Trustee Companies Act 1988, particularly with regard to the present regulatory standards and requirements; to cover new standard on the regulation of trust and corporate service providers in order for Samoa to comply with best standards; to have appropriate exemption from licensing both for private trustee companies, and for professionals offering “trust business”, to provide another legitimate solution for those who wish to use Samoa for their trusts to retain control of trust property. The bill will also cover 3 separate types of licences for a Trust Company Service Provider, namely –

(i)      a Trust Company Service Provider Licence for financial services business (including trust business) generally;

(ii)     a trust  licence for trust business only; and

(iii)   a Service Licence for all other financial services business, other than trust business;

(5) Foundations Amendment Bill 2017

Presenter: Tootooleaava Fanaafi Aiono – Le Tagaloa

Responsible Authority: Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA)

The CEO provided a detailed presentation on the proposed amendment to provide for the definition of the ‘responsible Minister’ and to omit the National Revenue Board from certain processes, such as the Head of State acting on the advice of Cabinet to prescribe fees which have been approved by the National Revenue Board. The amendment also addresses the strike-off and restoration procedure for any foundation and lists monetary sanctions which the Registrar may impose when required.

(6) Honours and Awards Amendment Bill 2017

Presenter: Agafili Shem Leo

Responsible Ministry: Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Chief Executive Officer explained that the purpose of the Bill is to amend the Principal Act (Honours and Awards Act 1999), and provide recognition and award to deceased individuals who have contributed to the development of Samoa both domestically and internationally, as well as to include the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister to chair the Honours Committee and also include the Ministry of Finance as a member of the committee.

The presentations provided Members with a clear understanding of the 6 bills proposed to be introduced in Parliament on Monday 13 November 2017. The Speaker concluded the briefing with a prayer.

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