Committee discusses FY2023 Budget with President among other issuess
PALIKIR, POHNPEI. September 5, 2022. The Fifth Regular Session of the 22nd Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia convened on September 5, 2022 to wrap up its review and work on the FY 2023 budget and measures pending before the Congress.
Following the formalities to open and convene a session, Speaker Simina appointed Senator Ferny S. Perman to head the Committee to Wait on the President with Senator Joseph J. Urusemal, Senator Paliknoa K. Welly and Senator Perpetua S. Konman, as members.
The meeting began with President David W. Panuelo welcoming the Members of the Committee attending, as well were members of the cabinet and staff. Chairman Perman informed the President that the Congress is in session and ready to transact business.
President Panuelo provided the Executive’s agenda to the Committee with a summary report of the following details:
2. Vice Presidency
3. PII(Pacific International Inc.)
4. 4th Constitutional Convention
5. Supplemental Budget
6. Marine Spatial Planning Legislation
7. Pending Legislation
First item on the President’s agenda is an update of the Covid19 situation within the FSM and its relevant regulations. The President was pleased to report to the committee on the dramatic drop of infections within the states of Pohnpei and Kosrae, and that all reported patient deaths were attributed to severe underlying medical conditions or comorbidities. The states with positive cases are encouraged to wear masks and the 5-day quarantine procedure for those arriving to the FSM are done away with, thereby allowing necessary training and international travel for consultants. The President is working with Chuuk State to ensure that its transition under the re-opening post pandemic is successful by delaying a full opening until November 1st . Chuuk State was also provided additional medicine for boosting the immune system, separate from the vaccination process.
The President has formally submitted his letter to the Congress requesting the selection of a new Vice President, and stands ready to brief the new Vice President on every department and on all issues. The President conveyed his appreciation to the Congress and Kosrae Delegation for their support with funeral services of the late Honorable Yosiwo P. George. It was a sad event, but a very dignified memorial to an important statesman.
The President moved the discussion to the recent judgment of $6 million awarded to PII (Pacific International Inc.). The President stated he was reviewing a separate account for litigation settlements and will shortly report to the Congress on how the National Government will move forward to pay out this judgement.
With the conclusion of the 4th Constitutional Convention, a task force will translate the proposed amendments into all the Nation’s languages and do an educational campaign, and will then be taken up in the national referendum in 2023.
A supplemental budget will be forthcoming from the President with requests for funding the Constitutional Task Force, FAO Membership and IRENA Membership, the UNMCO lease, the OAE, and opening of the new FSM Embassy in Geneva, Switzerland.
The President stated that legislation for the marine spatial planning should receive special attention as it will provide a systematic structure to gather scientific information on our ocean resources. This will further enhance the ability of our Nation to protect our resources and promote sustainability while using them.
The next item on the President’s agenda is pending legislation. The President provided the Committee with a list of pending legislation that he wishes the Congress to address during this session, the following are the pending legislation:
1. National Election Act amendment
2. Title 40 of the FSM Code for Early Childhood Education amendment
3. Repeal Penalty sections for fishing violations
4. Title 24 amendment of the Code of the FSM subjugating vessels within the EEZ to forfeiture.
5. Freedom Information Act
6. Creating a Chapter 4 under Title 36 of the FSM Code to govern non-profit corporations.
7. Cyber Crime Legislation & Funding
Pending grants was the eighth item on the President’s agenda and they include the following:
1. $17.7 million grant from World Bank for the SEEP Project
2. $372,499 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
3. $85,000 UNEP
4. $220,849 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
5. $176,686 U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
6. $1,157,850.04 U.S. Department of Education for Special Education Program
7. $220,562 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
8. $1,418,517 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Finally, the President requested that the Congress take action on MiCare board nominations as that board has several vacancies and cannot properly conduct business.
The President concluded the meeting by thanking the Members of the Committee to Wait for their time, Chairman Perman reciprocated with appreciation of the agenda items which the committee will share with the Congress during this session.
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