What is the Central Bank of Samoa?
The Central Bank of Samoa is the nation's reserve bank and, as such, it acts as banker to the Government and the commercial banks.
The principal purposes of the Bank have been enacted by charter in the Central Bank of Samoa Act 1984, Financial Institutions Act 1996, Foreign Exchange Regulations 1999, Money Laundering Prevention Act 2007 and the Insurance Act 2007:
(a) To determine and implement monetary policy;
(b) To advise the Government in respect of the exchange rate regime;
(c) To determine and implement the exchange rate policy;
(d) To hold and manage all official international reserves of Samoa;
(e) To regulate the international exchange of money;
(f) To issue and manage the currency of Samoa;
(g) To oversee the maintenance of the stability of the financial system as a whole;
(h) To license and supervise banks, securities brokers, securities dealers, other financial
institutions, insurers, and any other entities in accordance with the relevant laws;
(i) To act as a lender of last resort for banks;
(j) To promote and oversee the safety and efficiency of the National Payment System;
(k) To promote financial inclusion and financial literacy;
(l) To collect and compile statistics related to its functions;
(m) To act as a fiscal agent of the Government and state-owned entity;
(n) To advise the Government on banking and monetary matters;
(o) To cooperate with, and participate in, public international financial institutions and other
international organizations, and cooperate with domestic and foreign public entities,
concerning matters related to its objectives and functions; and
(p) To carry out any ancillary activities incidental to the exercise of its functions.
The Central Bank undertakes the formulation and implementation of monetary policy and related measures, which include open market operations in Central Bank Securities to influence the level of interest rates and the availability of credit in the financial system.
It is also responsible for the management of the rate at which Samoa's Tala is exchanged with currencies of other countries and, when necessary, administers exchange control measures with regard to monitoring foreign currency transactions.
The Bank in addition, is responsible for the custody and management of Samoa's reserves of international currencies for the payments of goods and services.
The issue of currency notes and coins to meet the needs of the business community and the general public is a critical role for which the Central Bank is widely known.
As fiscal agent of Government, the Central Bank undertakes, when required, the issue and administration of Treasury Bills and other Government securities. Moreover, it issues it own Central Bank Securities to the commercial banks and non-banks and maintains a registry service and rediscount facilities.
The Central Bank is responsible for the registration and prudential supervision of commercial banks. It also acts as banker for the commercial banks, provides a facility for the clearing and settlement of inter-bank payments, and is also custodian of the commercial banks' statutory minimum cash reserves.
The Financial Institutions Act 1996 appoints the Central Bank as the authority that issues licenses to financial institutions and, shall undertake further scrutiny of any information suggesting money laundering taking place.
As at end February 2014, the Central Bank has a total of 100 staff.