27 July, 2017
Member’s Pre-Sitting Briefing Summary

Member’s Pre-Sitting Briefing Summary

Members of Parliament, met at the Media Centre, Tuanaimato on Monday 19th June 2017 at 9.00am for their usual Member’s Briefing. The Police Commissioner and the Chief Executive Officers for the Ministries of the Prime Minister, Revenue and Finance provided overviews of the objectives and contents of 5 bills to be tabled in the House on Wednesday 21st June. A summary of these presentations and the main issues raised by Members is provided.

 

(1) Police Service Amendment Bill 2017

Presenter: Egon Lincoln Keil

Responsible Ministry: Ministry of Police

The Police Commissioner provided a detailed presentation on the background and objectives of the Police Amendment Bill 2017. Members raised a number of similar concerns particularly in regards to the need to have 2 Deputy Police Commissioners; one for Upolu, and one for Savaii. It was viewed by some Members that it would be unrealistic for one Deputy Commissioner to carry out numerous responsibilities for both Upolu and Savaii given the many cases brought before the Ministry. The Police Commissioner responded that Savaii is not neglected in this plan and noted that the main headquarter in Apia should funnel all policing matters aimed for the overall safety and security of both islands.

There were also mixed concerns raised in regards to the appointment, eligibility requirement, terms & condiditions as well as duties and powers of the Deputy Commissioner. For example, one Member raised his concern with allowing overseas applicants to apply for this position as he assumed it would be a promotion for the Superintendant. There were also queries regarding the future of the four current Assistant Police Commissioners which the Police Commissioner explained that these positions would be repealed once these contracts were done.

 

(2) Sex Offenders Registration Bill 2017

Presenter: Egon Lincoln Keil

Responsible Ministry: Ministry of Police

The Police Commissioner provided an informative presentation stating the objectives and background of the Sex Offenders Registration Bill 2017 would require offenders who commit sexual crimes to keep the police informed of their whereabouts for the safety of the public as well as preventing them from re-offending. Members raised mix opinions towards this Bill. Some members stated that the bill would affect individuals’ human rights. Some made queries on whether an inviduals name could be removed after serving 4-5 years without re-offending or whether this sex register was for life.

 

(3) Conventional Arms Bill 2017

Presenter: Agafili Shem Leo

Responsible Ministry: Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Chief Executive Officer read out the objectives of the Bill stating that the primary purpose for the Bill was to regulate the transport of Conventional Arms from country to country, so that the transport of the same are not for the purpose of committing international crimes. It was also to ensure that the prevention and eradication of illicit trade and diversion of conventional arms was maintained. There were not many queries on the bill but majority of Members supported the intention of the bill and acknowledged government’s efforts to honouring the Arm Trade Treaty Samoa is signatory to.

 

(4) Film Production (Tax Incentives) Bill 2017

Presenter: Matafeo Avalisa Viali

Responsible Ministry: Ministry for Revenue

The Chief Executive Officer provided an informative presentation on the objectives and background of the bill stating that the core purpose was to legislate incentives or privileges that were granted to any overseas company that wished to film any production such as television series, film or movie in Samoa. It was discussed that the bill would also coincide with the Landing Limited Act 2016; to ensure there was a consistent avenue for the taxing and payment of revenue for all film industries. The Members then raised similar queries particularly in regards to the benefits Samoa received from these companies and whether there were any tax imposed from payment of films in Samoa by overseas companies. The CEO responded that there were ongoing regulations put in place to ensure that Samoa benefits from these production; noting that currently, the cash rebate percentage Samoa offered was 30% which was a total 5.7million, given back to film producer of Survivor Series while 13.6million was spent in the economy.

The Members also queried whether the villages received any benefits from these films; whether the 30% cash rebate is consistent for all film companies coming into the country and whether these companies could be registered under MCIL to ensure taxes were collected and recorded. The CEO responded that there was no set rebate percentage because it varies depending on what the company offers to Samoa. She then stressed that although there was no set income to Government, the film makers and their crew spent their money in private businesses such as the hotels they stayed in and car rentals; which in turn contributed to the economy of Samoa.

 

(5) Energy Efficiency Bill 2017

Presenter: Tupaimatuna Iulai Lavea

Responsible Ministry: Ministry of Finance

The Chief Executive Officer explained that the purpose of the Bill was to establish a standard measure of electrical efficiency in electrical appliances for Samoa. That is to ensure that consumers are provided with the best value of electrical appliances they are buying. It also aimed to ensure that electrical appliances available to the public were energy efficient necessary for lower cash power usage. The Members acknowledged the intention of the bill and pushed for a warranty on electrical appliances coming into the country. They also made queries in regards to how electrical appliances coming into Samoa were managed, and how the accuracy of labels on the appliances was determined. The Members also raised concerns with regards to whether the Ministry had a special equipment that can be used to accurately assess and measure these appliances shipped into Samoa. The CEO responded that currently, the Ministry was using the New Zealand and Australia energy efficiently assessment standard to conduct their assessment. All brands and standards were also registered and verified by the Ministry and once verification was determined on a brand, the Ministry would issue a certificate to allow these branded products into our shores. In response to a suggestion that the Ministry should set up a new division to oversee this part of energy efficiency, the CEO noted that the Ministry will work together with the Ministry for Revenue in administering the proposed Bill.

 

The Hon. Speaker thanked all the presenters and extended his gratitude to all the Members of Parliament who attended the Briefing. He then concluded with a prayer.

 

 

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