Call from Minister annoys local businesswoman

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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NOT HAPPY: Moe Lei Sam. (Inset) MINISTER: Lautafi Fio Purcell.

NOT HAPPY: Moe Lei Sam. (Inset) MINISTER: Lautafi Fio Purcell. (Photo: Samoa Observer / File)

Local business owner, Moe Lei Sam has scoffed at the notion from the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Lautafi Fio Purcell, saying our local businesses should learn from Chinese business owners. 

The Minister’s comments were published in Thursday edition of the Samoa Observer newspaper, in an article titled “Learn from Chinese, says Minister.”

Moe said she was “very angry” and “disappointed” when she read the Minister’s comment. 

“What is this man trying to say? Is he implying that we (local businesses) are not good enough?

“We don’t need Chinese to come and tell us what to do. 

“I was very disappointed when I saw the story to be honest. I am a local business owner and I know there are other local businesses out there who were offended with the comments made by the Minister.

“What do we need to learn from the Chinese?”

Moe said Lautafi should have explained exactly what our local businesses need to learn from the Chinese. 

According to the disappointed local business owner, there is a big difference between local businesses and Chinese businesses.

“The first thing is, these Chinese business owners don’t have are families here in Samoa. 

“They don’t spend money on fa’alavelave and they don’t make any contributions to church like most of us .

“They make a lot of profit because they are not the same.

“The other thing, it is really hard to compete with the Chinese businesses because they sell their goods at a very, very low price. To them, they don’t care if they make a profit of just $1 but as long as they get customers. 

“That’s their way of attracting customers which is not good for us. 

“These people are not business experts. If they were experts back in their country, why are they here then?”

Said Moe, the comments from the Minister are like “slap in the face” for local businesses. 

“I find his comments very insulting,” said Moe. 

“It’s like he is saying we are not as smart as the Chinese. That we should look up to the Chinese.

“He is Samoan, he should be supporting and encouraging our local businesses instead of saying insulting things like that.

“It just makes me angry.”

Having said that, Moe said it would’ve been better if the government came up with an initiative to teach our local businesses how to improve their work. 

“I would have supported him if he said that there is now a course available for our local businesses to come and learn about how to operate businesses.

“That would’ve been a better idea than asking us to go and observe how the Chinese do things. 

“No way! I am never going to do that.”

Moreover, Moe who is also half-Chinese strongly believes that local businesses can succeed if they all work together in unity. 

“We (local businesses) need to stand together and help one another.

“I don’t want the Chinese to come here and take over our country. This is our country and we should be taking the lead in everything not them. 

“Our businesses were doing fine until these (new) Chinese businesses came into the country. 

“Now I am half-Chinese, I don’t blame the Chinese, I blame the government. 

“If the government did not allow these new Chinese businesses to be established in Samoa, there wouldn’t be a problem at all.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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