PALIKIR, POHNPEI. January 12, 2023 – The Final Regular Session of the Twenty Second Congress convened in Palikir on January 11, 2023 with a Committee of Member from each of the states duly appointed to Wait on the President, in terms of gathering the Executive’s priorities for consideration by the Congress during its Sixth Regular Session.
The Committee was received by President David W. Panuelo welcomed Chairman of the Committee Ferny S. Perman and committee members Senator Isaac V. Figir, Senator Rolinson B. Neth and Senator Tiwiter Aritos. The President began the meeting by thanking Congress for the invitation to address the state of the Nation the Congress and the people and then shared his agenda with the Committee.
Topping the President’s agenda was a supplemental budget request of approximately $24 million proposed to fund a range of outstanding issues or pending projects that included investments in the Nation’s foreign offices: $5 million for Hawaii, $3million for D.C., and $484 thousand to set up a Geneva Mission. Funding for structures in the Federated States of Micronesia included a $3.3 million for the National Department of Education Building and $1.2 million for the FSM Supreme Court Annex Building.
Also, earmarked for the supplemental funding are: $2 million to pay a portion of the PII judgment, $1.5 million for Dry docking, $1 million for social security to implement PL 22-166, $4.9 million to fund the Public Service System pay raise, $500 thousand for the SDP review and $300 thousand for the Kosrae Expo.
Next on the President’s agenda were nominations pending before the Congress that require action among which included the nomination of Evelyn Adolph for Ambassador of the FSM Embassy in Fiji, nominations for Kembo Mida Jr. and Maria Laaw for the Vital Board of Director and Kinda Kando and Sebastian Anefal for the MiCare Board of Directors. The two organizations require a full Board in order to move forward with their necessary work. Finally, Suzanne Gallen is re-nominated to the COM Board of Regents.
Grants were the next item on President Panuelo’s agenda and he requested action by the Congress to accept and approve a $17 million grant from the World Bank for vocational education, a $5 million grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the FSM Clean Energy Project, a $908,299 grant from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a $500,000 grant from the Department of Interior (DOI) Audit.
Finally, President Panuelo reiterated to the Congress the need to consider and act on the following pending legislation: the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Cybercrimes Bill, and the pending legislations on tax identification and tax review.
Chairman Perman of the Committee to Wait thanked the President for the detailed discussions on his agenda which the Committee will share with the Congress the next day.
The Sixth Regular Session of the Congress as convened on January 11, 2023, is open to the interested public and can also be viewed online at: www.cfsm.gov.fm