President Mori meets with Congress Committee to prepare for the Sixth Regular Session
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Public Information Office): January 12, 2011 - On January 10, President Mori and the members of his cabinet met with the Congress members sitting on the “Committee to Wait on the President,” to prepare for the sixth Regular Session of Congress. Present at the meeting, as committee members, were Senator Claude Phillip, Senator Tony Otto and Senator Dion G. Neth.
President Mori outlined a number of items which were pending and which he hoped would be resolved this week in Congress, including: an agreement on the government’s final total budget projection for 2011, the finalization of the government’s 2010 supplementary budget request, the pending tax reform legislation, the FSM fisheries loan, the pending nominations for the COM-FSM Board of Regents and the temporary relocation of the Personnel Office under the President’s Office.
Regarding the government’s budget projection for 2011, President Mori explained that the former Secretary of Finance had submitted to Congress a projection of $37.2 million, an amount inferior to what had been submitted by the President. Mori stated the local revenue projections would most likely be closer to $39, as the final total revenue amount for 2010 had been approximately $40 million and he saw no indicators for the revenue projection to decrease in 2011. Senator Phillip reassured President Mori the issue would be re-visited by Congress during this session and that all parties would welcome an agreement on a final projection amount.
Both Mori and the Senators present at the meeting also agreed that based on a corrected local revenue projection, they would most likely be able to come to an agreement regarding the final 2011 supplementary budgets requests presented by the national government. The President took the opportunity to extend an invitation to all members of Congress to attend the National Economic Symposium taking place in Chuuk from February 7 to 11, 2011.
Regarding the FSM fisheries loan, Marion Henry, Secretary of the Department of Resources and Development, updated the Committee on its status. He explained that a total of eleven agreements needed to be negotiated in order to lay out the duties and obligations of all parties involved in the loan arrangement. The Government of the People’s Republic of China would potentially be acting as the lender via China Eximbank, a bank fully-owned by the Chinese Government; the FSM National Government would be the borrowing party, FSM Development Bank the loan manager and Luen Thai Fishing Ventures (LTFV) the operator for the four rehabilitated State processing plants. In short, the amount of the loan will be used to rehabilitate the State processing plants, LTFV will make lease payments to the FSM Government for operating these plants, and the FSM Government will in turn use the lease payments to reimburse the loan to Eximbank.
Senator Phillip confirmed that all items discussed during the Committee meeting will be taken back to Congress and expressed his hope that all issues raised will be efficiently handled and taken care of during this final session of the 16th Congress.
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