American Samoa Needs Effective Aid To Improve Government Operations and Become a Self-Supporting Territory

CED-78-154: Published: Sep 22, 1978. Publicly Released: Oct 23, 1978.

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American Samoa is largely dependent on Federal funds as the base for its economy. Well-conceived goals and priorities for its development do not exist. The American Samoa Government has neither an effective financial management system nor an adequately trained work force to carry out its operations.

The Department of the Interior has been responsible for the administration of the Government of American Samoa since 1951, but has not been effective in helping American Samoa progress toward becoming a self-supporting territory. The level of funds American Samoa has received from the United States has exceeded its capability to manage its programs. The funds have also contributed to changes in the Samoan culture. About 82% of American Samoa's revenues in 1977 came from the Federal Government. Efforts to develop private enterprise have been largely unsuccessful, and the territory has been unable to effectively plan, develop, operate, manage, and maintain capital improvement projects. People from outside the territory comprised 25% of the work force. Despite high unemployment, American Samoans are unwilling to accept certain jobs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should: clarify the U.S. Government's roles and responsibilities for carrying out Interior's objectives of self-government and self-support in American Samoa; make sure that the territorial government establishes goals and priorities for the territory's development as well as a plan to accomplish them; establish a separate organization to provide American Samoa technical assistance and preserve the integrity of audit objectivity; make sure the territory has made an adequate evaluation of Federal grant programs, that there is a need for them, and that they can be effectively administered; proceed on the best possible approach to have information made available from other Federal agencies on the purpose and intent of all Federal funds and other assistance to be provided American Samoa; assist American Samoa in developing and carrying out a comprehensive manpower development program; and assist the territory in developing a comprehensive hiring and employment program.

    Agency Affected:


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