Maloafua : structural adjustment programmes : the case of Samoa : a thesis submitted to Massey University in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Sociology Programme, School of Social and Cultural Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University, Albany Campus, Auckland
Structural adjustment programmes have been promoted globally by international financial institutions as an answer to the financial problems of developing countries like Samoa. This thesis is a study of the history of structural adjustment programmes in the Independent State of Samoa, and focuses specifically on a case study of one particular programme: the restructuring and privatisation of the former Public Works Department (PWD). It seeks to compare the claims made for the reform process by development economists, development consultants and planners, politicians and reform managers, with the experiences of those who were involved in various roles in a particular type of reform: the privatisation of a Government utility. The PWD was chosen by the Samoan Government to kick-start its institutional reform programme. The Department had, over the years, suffered from poor management, corrupt practices, overspending and unaccounted funds which were all revealed in an Auditor General's Report tabled in Parliament in Samoa in 1994. This caused great embarrassment to the Government which had then to respond to these accusations. Government saw the reform of the PWD as a means to respond to public criticism of its lack of oversight, and discontent with the standard of the department's services in public works, institutional construction, repair and maintenance programmes. The study used a case study methodology to interview the people that were involved in the privatisation of the old Public Works Department (PWD). Various people who were, and are still, involved in the process of reforming Government institutions were interviewed. These included the politicians who both advocated and opposed the implementation of the reforms, the consultants who managed them for the Government and international agencies, and employees at all levels of the former Public Works Department. It explored PWD employees' personal and institutional experiences of the period before, during and since the reform of the agency. Despite the propaganda on the benefits that reform programmes have for the countries that implement them, the study has revealed different findings. It identifies and examines some important differences between the claims made by various stakeholders about the reforms, and the experiences of those who were directly involved in various ways. It has shown that people in different positions have different experiences of the same programmes, and that their experiences are significantly influenced by their social location and, specifically, whether they are "insiders" or "outsiders." It concludes by suggesting that since the structural reform project is likely to continue in Samoa for the foreseeable future, it is useful to identify those lessons from the PWD privatisation which might be applied to future projects to mitigate their social and organisational impact.