Wednesday, June 11, 2014

FSM Congress allocates over $5 million for new public projects and withholds action on Investment Fund and others matters

FSMIS (June 11, 2014): The 4th Regular Session of the 18th FSM Congress concluded on May 31st with the following bills passed.

1. C.B. 18-65: This bill was submitted to Congress by the President to dissolve the FSM Coconut Development Authority (CDA) and integrate its functions  under the FSM Petroleum Corporations.

2. C.B. 18-107: This bill was introduced by Senator Joseph Urusemal in order to ban smoking within 150 feet near buildings owned and leased by the FSM National Government.

3. C.B. 18-136: This bill further amends Public Law No. 17-59, which has been previously amended seven times. The change in the law was made by Speaker Dohsis Halbert for the purpose of changing allottee to certain public project.

4. C.B. 18-138: This bill was introduced by Speaker Dohsis Halbert to further amend Public Law 17-36 in order to change the use and allottee of certain funds in a public project appropriation. This bill is the sixth change to said appropriation law.

5. C.B. 18-152: This bill further amends sections 1003 and 1015 of Title 37 of the FSM Code and creates new sections in order to clarify and establish an Insurance Board Revolving Fund for the regulation of captive insurance companies. The bill was a request from the Executive Branch.

6. C.B. 18-162: This bill was introduced by Senator Isaac Figir to create subaccount for the States in the FSM Trust Fund.

7. C.B. 18-163: Introduced by Floor Leader Singkoro Harper, this bill amends Public Law 18-35 to change use of certain funds for public projects in the Mortlocks region, Chuuk State. This is the third change to the specified law.

8. C.B. 18-164: The bill basically seeks to delay the effective date for the Telecommunication Act of 2014, moving implementation of the Act to May 12, 2015. Senator Wesley Simina introduced the bill.

9. C.B. 18-166: Introduced by Senator Victor Gouland, the bill includes a supplemental budget for Congress (Representation Fund) and a $1,000,000 subsidy for Our Airline service to Kosrae and Pohnpei. The subsidy was line item vetoed by the President. Congress overrode on May 31st.

10. C.B. 18-168: This bill changes the use for an amount of $18,000 in order to fund travel for nurses from Yap to attend the Asia-Pacific Nurse Leadership Conference in Honolulu. The bill was introduced by Senator Joseph Urusemal.

11. C.B. 18-169: Introduced by Senator Joseph Urusemal, the bill is for the purpose of changing the use of funds previously appropriated for public projects in Yap in Public Law 15-80.

12. C.B. 18-170: This bill appropriates an amount of $5.2 million for new public projects in all the States. Senator Tony Otto is the introducer.

13. C.B. 18-173: Introduced by Senator Yosiwo George, the bill changes the use of certain funds for public projects in Kosrae originally set in Public Law 18-05.

14. C.B. 18-174: The bill changes the use of funds previously appropriated in Public Law 17-68 for public projects in Kosrae. The bill was introduced by Senator Yosiwo George.

 There were other priority requests from the Executive Branch that were not acted upon by Congress. For instance, the President specifically asked Congress to "set aside" into a Investment Development Fund $15 million from domestic revenue. The President has been discussing with Congress the purpose of the Fund. In his latest "state of the Nation" address, President Mori also made mention of the need to create the Fund leading to 2023.

The President also asked for $5 million to be put into the FSM Trust Fund. According to the President, the FSM Trust Fund currently has around $21 million.

In a separate report, we will highlight other pivotal Congressional actions in terms of funding allocation and other policy-related decisions. This includes the decision to forgo action on the sunset clause of the Revenue Administration Act.

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