The Government’s total debt stands at US$428 million.
This is according to the figures released by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) Financial Statistics for the December 2017 quarter, Samoa Observer reports.
The stats also reveal that Samoa’s debt to China is around US$162 million, making China Samoa’s biggest creditor.
The amount is higher than what Samoa owes the Asia Development Bank; World Bank and Japan.
In January, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi rejected reports that the Government debt to China had reached “billions”.
“It’s wrong, it’s totally wrong,” he told the Samoa Observer then.
“Look for a report issued by the Central Bank that is where the accurate information is found. It also indicates the amount (owed) to China.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa has repeatedly downplayed concerns about Samoa’s debt.
“For Samoa, we have our own Debt Management Policy that we watch very, very carefully to ensure that annually we are able to meet our debt service payments,” he said during a previous interview.
“Therefore, it is up to Samoa to carefully gauge its capability to meet its debt obligations and to carefully watch the borrowings that we make from international governments and institutions.
“Since all our debts are concessionary, we do not have such problems.
“We have very strong payment capabilities every year. Very often for instance in many projects that we do, the construction period is up to 2 years and then we begin to earn revenue to help start paying the loans well, well, well before the grace period ends and the repayment of the loan and interests begin.
“So there are inbuilt cushions in a county’s debt level capacity, so long as they watch these debts service capacities very carefully and this is why we have institutions like the Central Bank of Samoa to carefully watch our debt obligations.”