Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Congress urges the President to halt implementation of the Unified Revenue Administration Act of 2010, recommits constitutional proposal to J&GO

FSMIS (October 1, 2014): In today’s meeting, Congress spent time debating over the report from the Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations (J&GO) recommending the passage of the proposal to lower the threshold requirement of 75 percent to only 66 percent in three of the four States, in order for an amendment to the FSM Constitution to be accepted. After much debate, the proposal got sent back to the J&GO committee. It is not clear what the committee will do with the proposal in the immediate term.

Congress also acted on eight resolutions. Among them was a resolution urging the President to hold up on the implementation of the Unified Revenue Act of 2010. The Executive Branch informed Congressed two days ago that it would start transitioning the administration o tax from the Customs and Tax Administration (CTA) to the URA on October 1, 2014.

During today’s meeting, Congress expressed concern regarding the URA implementation on October 1st based on the advice of their legal counsel, claiming constitutional issues exist as they see a lack of uniformity in the implementation of National tax. The Department of Justice had determined that the implementation of the URA Act does not bring about a violation of the FSM Constitution, and reiterated that position during the meeting with Congress on September 30th.

On a more positive note, Congress agreed to ratify an amendment to the Third Arrangement in implementing the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), regarding the removal of the closure of the Eastern High Seas to fishing activities.

PNA is an agreement among nine Pacific countires concerning cooperation in the management of fisheries within their combined Excusive Economic Zones.

Congress deferred action on the nominatioin for Mr. Tulensru E. Waguk to serve as a member of the board of regents of the College of Micronesia-FSM, representing the State of Kosrae.  A minimum of ten votes was needed to pass the nomination. Only nine Members were present.

The session will continue tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. for the eighteenth day.

A regular session takes twenty days unless shortened or extended by resolution.  

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