Samoa Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, has denied claims that the Government is desperate for money.
“The three Revenue Bills introduced (during the last Parliamentary session) were due to the health issues faced by Samoa,” he told Samoa Observer.
“They have nothing to do with claims that the Government has run out of money.”
The Minister of Revenue was responding to questions from the Samoa Observer, strongly rejecting reports the Government was “desperate” for money.
The Ministry of Revenue Bills were submitted under expedited process meaning they were introduced and approved the same day.
The measures have already been signed into law three days after approval from Parliament, says Tialavea.
“The main reason we are placing taxes on the sugary drinks, the frozen chicken, the lamb flaps and turkey tail is because of the health conditions of our people,” he said.
“Non-communicable diseases kill 40 million people each year, equivalent to 70 percent of all deaths globally.
“Each year, 15 million people die from a NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years. Over 80 percent of these premature deaths occur in low and middle income countries.
“Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.7 million people annually, followed by cancers (8.8 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million).
“These four groups of diseases account for over 80 percent of all premature NCD deaths.
“Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from a NCD and these are data from the World Health Organisation so think about it, we are doing it for a better and healthier Samoa.
“As further indicated by the WHO, preventative measures should be put in place and this is part of the prevention strategy made with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health,” said Tialavea.
He then pointed out that American Samoans love to eat turkey tail and they have been labelled as the fattest people in the world.