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LESSONS:

Financial Sector Program

| country: Samoa

A strong governance framework was a program highlight. This is reflected in numerous laws drafted and pushed to enactment. But some significant legislation like the Companies Act 2000 and its amendments have not yet been announced and implemented. Schedules to the Public Bodies Performance and Accountability Act 2001 are in place, and two more are being drafted. In other cases, further amendments for effective implementation have been, or are being made. These shortcomings imply that some legislation was passed with little scrutiny or reflection. Once bills are completed, the next crucial phase is a learning exercise in educating users about workings of relevant acts.

The program encouraged and instilled the value of stakeholder consultation, particularly with the private sector, and of the participation process to strengthen support for, and broad ownership of, reform initiatives. The consultation process gave stakeholders an opportunity to understand, monitor, and reassess their goals; and to adjust to conform with the government’s reform program. The flow-on effect is seen in the effective contributions of the private sector and civil society to formulation of Samoa’s development strategy. Also, the Samoan Government was right in targeting first reforms at the financial sector, before embarking on wider initiatives for public sector reform.

Waivers of tranche conditions are not encouraged, unless for strong and valid reasons. But in this case, the policy condition to expressly identify eight state-owned enterprises ( SOEs) for privatization during the design phase was too ambitious and optimistic, considering the process by past experiences. The government had still not completely resolved the privatization and divestment of three of the eight SOEs by September 2004, when this report was written.

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