Wednesday, June 19, 2013

President Mori gears up for Micronesian Presidential Summit in Palau

FSMIS (June 19, 2013): President Manny Mori gathered his Cabinet earlier today to address a number of items for the Executive Branch. With steady assistance from Vice President Alik L. Alik and Chief of Staff Leo Falcam Jr., the meeting focused primarily on preparations for the upcoming Micronesian Presidential Summit (MPS) that is to take place in the Republic of Palau on July 10th to 12th. With direct input from Secretary Lorin Robert, Department of Foreign Affairs, the President spoke on a short list of agenda items that he would like to take to the MPS for consideration and possible action.

Communication with the MPS host country are still on-going regarding the program and draft agenda. For this reason, specifics on the President's delegation to the MPS could not be nailed down at this meeting. Secretary Robert confirmed that an in-house meeting with fellow cabinet members would take place later pending further cue from Palau officials on agenda and program matters.

The President also shared his intention to call a special session of Congress prior to July 19, the cut-off date in the sunset clause for the Revenue Administrative Act (RAA) legislation. All five governments in the FSM (State Governments and the National Government) were asked to endorse the RAA by April 19, which date got pushed back to July 19 when Congress amended the "sunset clause".

Tremendous work and resources have been put into reforming the tax system in the FSM with assistance from other Partners since 2004 and broad engagements with stakeholders nationwide.

After the two agenda items were addressed, the departments and office heads took turns in briefing the President on most imminent undertakings at their departments and offices. For instance, the Department of Education reported that a number standard tests were recently completed in the Mortlocks and Northwest Islands in Chuuk. Dr. Mauricio also provided previews on concluded accreditation assessments at various schools in all four States, results of which would be shared momentarily.

After the President and the Vice President excused themselves from the meeting, the Chief of Staff proctored over other discussions amongst cabinet members on outstanding and new office level concerns and announcements. This meeting allowed for "across the table" interactions to bring concerted attention to derailed-but-not-dead issues. It also signaled incoming matters that merited everyone's cooperation, especially with regards readiness for the MPS and the upcoming special session.

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