Churches

Bill to repeal controversial tax in Samoa to be discussed in Parliament

The bill has been in parliamentary committee stages with the Bills Committee since it was tabled late last year.

The amendment by the FAST party government follows an election promise that is credited with securing the vote of members of the Congregational Christian Church, and a pivotal part of the upset change of government.

A consultative meeting between the new government and all church denominations in Samoa last November confirmed they were all in favor of dumping the tax introduced by the former HRPP government.

Religious tax law repeal 'won't affect' Samoan govt revenue

TV1Samoa reports the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry for Customs and Revenue, Matafeo Avalisa Fautuaali'I, saying that since the introduction of the law in 2018, a total of 180,000 US dollars has been collected from church ministers.

Despite that she said government revenues would not be affected.

The law was introduced by the then HRPP government and only one of the 38 Christian denominations protested.

PNG church leaders drafted in vaccination campaign

Official figures show around 60,000 people in PNG have had their first dose of a vaccine, and just 1900 have had both.

A recent survey by PNG’s health department, found that just 39 per cent of people - excluding health workers - were willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

Church officials and leaders are now being drafted in to the fight online conspiracy theories and encourage vaccinations.

Dr Alphonse Aime is the Head of the Communications department at the Divine Word University and says more needs to be done to counter the anti-vaccination messages.

Two Churches in Samoa Were Victimized By One Coin

It appears some of those investors were a string of Christian churches in the South Pacific.

New evidence and details regarding the case surrounding One Coin have emerged, and it appears the leaders of the Ponzi scheme didn’t care who they targeted, so long as they got their money.

Samoa govt gets tougher on tax avoiding church ministers

The Congregational Christian Church is refusing to abide by a new law that requires pastors to pay income tax for the first time.

The Revenue Minister, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, said those who have been charged will likely face further charges for not paying tax between June and November.

The current charges are for the period from January to May 2018.

     

Samoa PM refuses church pleas for tax delay

The fonotele is currently in progress at the church headquarters in Malua.

On his weekly radio programme, Tuilaepa pointed out that the other churches never complained about the law requiring ministers to pay taxes.

He says the act is passed and the implementation is in progress.

Tuilaepa says the church general secretary, Reverend Vavatau Taufao, wrote to him asking to postpone the passing of the Act and give the church six months to deliberate on the issue.

Samoa schools, churches remain closed

In a report released last night by the Disaster Management Office and the Disaster Advisory Committee, following Cyclone Gita, people's safety was a priority in Samoa.

The Samoan government decided on Monday night to extend the Declaration of Disaster imposed during Gita for another 48 hours.

"Overall, the restoration of affected lifeline services and clearance of debris are progressing well," the report said.

It said there was access throughout the country and maintenance of roads, drainages and road reserves were well underway.

MP wants review of church taxes in Samoa

The law was passed last year, making the country's Head of State and church pastors pay income tax for the first time.

At the time, the prime minister said there was nothing in the Bible that prohibited church pastors from paying tax.

But this week, Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt, called for a review, saying the Congregational Church of Samoa was telling its parishes not to heed the decision until its general assembly.

Samoa to tax head of state and church ministers

The Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, said the taxes would be effective in the new financial year, starting next month.

The tax plan is opposed by the two main churches, the Methodist and the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa.

Tialavea said church ministers receiving less than $US7,500 in love offerings, or alofa, from church members would not be paying tax.

He made it clear that the proposal was openly discussed with representatives of various church organisations but the ministry had the final say.

Samoa churches help combat violence against women

The recently launched report on the state of human rights in Samoa revealed 46 percent of women, from ages of 15 to 49, have experienced some form of gender based violence.

This includes physical, mental and verbal abuse.

Suisala Mele Maualaivao of UN Women says the agency has addressed the issue but acceptance and change in the communities will not happen without the support of faith based organisations.

UNESCO's Etienne Clement says violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights.