Local Government of Samoa

Ministry: Women, Community and Social Development

The matai title holders (chiefs of aiga, or extended families, of whom there are around 25,000), whose office is elective for life, still administer local government in the traditional manner. They are trustees for customary land held on behalf of the people, which makes up about 80% of all the land in the country.

This system of local government is provided for by the Village Fono Act 1990 and the Internal Affairs Act 1995. The Division of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development is responsible for local government, which comprises the National Capital District Council; 26 urban authorities; and 286 village councils (fono).

The local government authorities have revenue-raising powers, as well as receiving transfers from national government for specific projects from time to time. They work with central government on the delivery of public health and hygiene; education; law and justice; water supply; construction of plantation roads; agriculture and fisheries support services; and leisure facilities.