22nd Congress passes FY2023 Budget and Social Security Act
PALIKIR, POHNPEI – September 27, 2022. The 22nd Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia adjourned its Fifth Regular Session on September 23, 2022 with the passage of measures for a new national budget for FY2023 and a supplemental budget for FY2022, among many others.
As convened on September 5, 2022, the Fifth Regular Session was to foremost pass the FY2023 operations budget for the National Government and address other matters pending before the body. The Congress passed Congressional Act (CA) 22-151, to appropriate a national budget for FY2023, ending September 30, 2023, in the amount of $70,119,042 to address operations of all branches of the National Government, its agencies, various programs, grants, subsidies and contributions and Capital and Human Resources Development.
On other budget related measures, CA 22-157 is to appropriate the sum of $2,800,000 from the General Fund for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2022, for the purpose of funding public projects and social programs for the people of Yap, Kosrae, Pohnpei & Chuuk States, and for other purposes. CA 22-155 is an act to appropriate the sum of $1,105,000 from the General Fund of the Federated States of Micronesia for fiscal year ending September 30, 2022, for the purpose of funding the CIA’s Y12 aircraft engine repairs and assembly, freight and other related costs, the FSMTCC – Open Access Entity (OAE), the Education Task Force for the constitutional amendments proposed by the Constitutional Convention and the operation of Xavier High School affected by Covid-19 travel restrictions in Chuuk, and for other purposes.
A measure of note is an amendment to FSM Social Security through CA 22-156. The Act amends Title 53 FSMC Chapter (8) Section (804, 810) as follows:
Section 804, is amended to allow individuals 65 and over to be entitled to 50% of retirement benefits while working; conversely, individuals 65 and over who no longer work will be entitled to 100% of retirement benefits. If an individual 65 and over continues to work and opts for the 100% benefit, they will be subject to the earnings test.
Section 810, is amended to allow any individual that are not fully insured at retirement age to elect to receive an optional lump-sum payment for their full tax contribution to the FSM Social Security system, as opposed to the previous language of the law requiring a lump-sum of 4 percent of the total cumulative covered earnings of their social security contribution.
To address a shortage of skilled laborers within the private sector, CA 22-146 is to amend Title 51 of the Code of the F.S.M., by providing an exception to the current law by enacting a new Section 121A, thereby allowing the hiring of nonresident workers by private sector employers. This exception will expire on September 30, 2027.
The remaining Acts were for grass root level projects and social programs in the four states to make either changes to the use of funds previously appropriated or to make changes to the allottees of those funds.
Congress passed CA 22-147, and changed the use or allottee of certain funds previously appropriated for public projects and social programs for the people of the state of Pohnpei while CA 22-162 was for the same intent directed to the state of Yap, with CA 22-152 are for both the states of Yap and Pohnpei. Specific to Chuuk State, for previous public projects and social programs for the people of the state, the Congress passed CA 22-153, CA 22-154 & CA 22-158; and CA 22-160 for the state of Kosrae; with CA 22-161 for both the states of Yap and Kosrae.
CA 22-159 & CA 22-145 are to extend the lapse dates of funds beyond FY2022 previously appropriated therein to fund public projects and social programs for the people of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk & Yap States, and for other purposes.
CA 22-148 is an amendment to Public Law No. 19-32 to correct technical errors in Public 20-79 to change the use of funds previously appropriated therein, and for other purposes.
CA 22-149is an amendment to Sections 9 & 12 of Public Law No. 19-118 to change the use and allottee of funds previously appropriated therein for the purpose of funding capital and human resources development for the state of Chuuk, and for other purposes.
All the Congressional Acts have been transmitted to the President to be signed into law.
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