The Assembly of God Church of Samoa in Australia superintendent, Pastor Taeauga Ropati Frost, has criticised Samoa’s current minimum wage and described it as a joke.
Pastor Frost, who is originally from Iva Savai’i and is now ministering in Australia, said the starting rate of $2.30 tala is too low for working Samoans.
“What they are paying our people are peanuts – it is way too low,” he said, and also blamed it for the increase in prostitution.
“That’s why a lot of young girls are being prostituted in this country because of no money. They can’t live on $2.30 an hour. It should be $8 to $10 an hour. These people need money to survive in the first place,” he said.
“Kids in high school working at McDonalds in Australia start at a rate of $13 an hour and our people are starting off with $2.30? It’s a joke! For young people to get just $2.30 an hour, I do not like it. We need to give our young people a fair go at life to develop themselves and how do we do that? We give them money to start with.”
Young Samoans are being mistreated by the Government by paying them low wages, added Pastor Frost, who said it was sad to see them being treated that way.
“My wife and I go to hotels and we ask the kids who work there how much they get paid and it’s not much at all. They should really change that.”
The refusal by some church ministers to pay taxes to Government also came under scrutiny with Pastor Frost saying everyone should pay tax.
“The trouble is because ministers of religion are refusing to pay tax, their starting pay when they go into a village is about $3000-$5000 a week and they refuse to pay tax? And yet they have cars to fill up the road and such? Our country needs everyone to contribute, our economy needs to expand, that way everyone gets a fair share of everything.”