Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Congress asks for "urgent meeting" regarding URA Act of 2010

FSMIS (September 30, 2014): In response to communication from the Federated States of Micronesia Vice President Alik L. Alik, the FSM Congress quickly summoned the Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration, the Secretary of Justice, the Customs and Tax Administration Division, and the Tax Reform Program for a hearing at noon today. 

Vice President Alik also showed up at the meeting. 

The meeting was chaired by Senator Wesley Simina, the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, and was open to all Members. 

Senator Simina stated the meeting is initiated in reaction to information received during today's session regarding the decision to start transitioning the administration of tax from the current CTA Office to the Unified Revenue Administration (URA). 

Some Members indicated that they felt the URA, as a component of the tax reform program, could not be implemented given that the Revenue Administration Act's "sunset clause" went into effect last May. 

Besides expressing concerns on legal matters, Congress expressed disagreement that the Executive Branch is preparing to proceed with the implementation of the URA without all the State governments' involvement in the operation. 

The collective response from the Executive side was that the basis of the decision to proceed is to fulfill their roles derived from the Unified Revenue Authority Act of 2010 itself, which Congress enacted  four years ago. 

Some Members also wondered if implementing the URA will discourage the States of Pohnpei and Yap from coming on-board with the tax regime reforms. 

Vice President Alik did not view the decision to implement the act as a way of alienating the remaining two States from the tax reform endeavor. He said he remained hopeful that National and State Leaderships will be committed to modernizing tax regime for all governments in the federation. 

The URA will begin assuming its role on October 1, 2014 (tomorrow) in a transition period of three months involving the tax administration offices for the National Government, Chuuk State and Kosrae State. It is expected to become fully operational by January 2015. 

Along with Chairman Simina, Congress Members who participated at the meeting were Vice Speaker Paliknoa T. Welly, Floor Leaders Singkoro Harper, Senator Joseph J. Urusemal, Senator Yosiwo George,  and Senator Berney Martin. 

Pacific Leaders sit down with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Pacific Leaders with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on September 26, 2014
(September 26, 2014): Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) President Manny Mori attended a meeting held between the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum at the margins of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The meeting was co-chaired by the UN Secretary-General and the President of Palau, Mr. Tommy Remengesau Jr., who is the current Chair of the Forum.

The Secretary-General recalled his recent visit to the region and his participation in the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa. Pacific Leaders and the Secretary-General stressed the importance of the implementation of the Samoa PATHWAY. The Secretary-General reassured the Forum Leaders that the UN system would work as one to engage in the implementation of the commitments made during the SIDS conference.

Pacific Leaders commended the UN Secretary General on his leadership on climate change issues and the recently concluded Climate Summit. They agreed to the importance of fully capitalizing the Green Climate Fund. Leaders reaffirmed their support to conclude a legally binding climate agreement next year. Leaders sought support to enable the continued active engagement of Pacific negotiators in the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Lima and Paris.

They also discussed the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda. The UN General Assembly’s adoption of the report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals was welcomed. Pacific countries appreciated the stand-alone goal on oceans and sea as well as the goals related to sustainable development and climate change. The Secretary-General took note of the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration and the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and encouraged leaders to strengthen efforts to improve women’s political participation and economic empowerment and to eliminate violence against women.

The President of Palau concluded the meeting by stressing that the Pacific countries would continue to think of the United Nations as a critical partner to move their agenda forward.

The meeting between the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders and the UN Secretary General and his key staff has become a tradition at the margins of the General Assembly Leaders’ week.

President Mori meets with Japan Prime Minister Abe along with Pacific Leaders in New York

(September 25, 2014) The first Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting was held today at the margins of the 69th UNGA. The meeting was convened by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss issues of mutual interest to the Pacific and Japan under the umbrella of the PALM. Pacific Leaders thanked Prime Minister Abe for the timely opportunity to exchange views.

The meeting was held following the convening of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit and as such, Pacific Leaders raised climate change and its adverse impacts on their peoples’ livelihood; social and economic development sectors such as fisheries, food and water security; the unfinished business of the millennium development goals, the Sustainable Development Goals and the post 2015 development agenda, the SAMOA Pathway, a reformed UN to be reflective of the times, Means of Implementation, among others.

FSM President Manny Mori took the opportunity to seek the support of Japan for FSM’s proposed amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The proposed amendment to the Protocol, which has become one of the President’s pre-occupation during his term in office, will constrain the growth of HFCs as an initiative to close the pre-2020 emissions gap. President Mori also sought Japan’s support towards the full capitalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). In his brief intervention during the exchange of views, President Mori assured the Japanese leader of FSM’s support for Japan’s candidature for the non-permanent seat of the Security Council for the period 2016-17.  While Japan is running unopposed from the Asia-Pacific Group, it still needs a two-third of the votes to realize its goal.

Prime Minister Abe expressed his government’s support of the issues raised by the Pacific Leaders and assured them that they will be further discussed in PALM 7 in May 2015. He also sought the support of the Pacific for their candidature for the non-permanent seat of the Security Council for the period 2016-17.

Monday, September 29, 2014

President Mori's address at the 69th U.N. General Assembly

President Mori addressing the United Nation General Assembly (photo by UN site)
FSMIS (September 29, 2014): Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori delivered his last address of the United Nations General Assembly
as the FSM President, at the 69th UNGA session on September 26, 2014. The full text of the speech is linked below.


A press release on the President's intervention at the Assembly is available on www.fsmpio.fm

Sunday, September 28, 2014

President Mori Addresses Climate Change and Other Key Issues at UN General Assembly

President Mori addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 26, 2014
(New York, September 26, 2014): President Emanuel Mori addressed the 69th United Nations General Assembly Friday afternoon, referencing recent world events and raising issues of importance to Micronesia and other small island developing States. In particular, he focused on the theme of climate change and again highlighted Micronesia’s proposal to the Montreal Protocol to phase down the greenhouse gases HFCs.
The President first extended his sympathies to the families of the victims of recent tragedies, including the passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, those beheaded by ISIS and victims of the Ebola epidemic and of natural disasters worldwide.
Introducing the subject of climate change, the President said, “We are all stewards of God’s Creation here on Earth. The bounties of Mother Nature are priceless.  We all bear the obligation to sustainably manage them.”
He called on major polluters to rise to the challenge and tackle climate change, and, in this regard, he expressed support for the World Bank carbon pricing initiative. He also applauded recent pledges to the Green Climate Fund, capitalization of which will be key to supporting the post-2015 development agenda.
President Mori underscored the importance of adopting an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs, which Micronesia has championed for five years. He explained that reducing HFCs and other short-lived climate pollutants can reduce the rate of sea-level rise by 25%, and he pointed out that this near-term climate mitigation would give atolls around the globe a chance of survival.
He drew attention to two articles in the most recent issue of The Economist magazine, which validate Micronesia’s HFC proposal and describe the enormous potential of the Montreal Protocol to protect climate.
A portion of the President’s statement was dedicated to national action, including the National Energy Policy, the Climate Change Act, the Nation Wide Integrated Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Policy, and the Agriculture Policy. The President called on development partners to continue to support Micronesia through these existing policies and programs.
He stressed the critical importance of assistance to implement the actions outlined in the SAMOA Pathway and to fulfill the prospective Sustainable Development Goals. He also endorsed the “One-UN Approach” for country-level attention in the North Pacific. He cited telecommunications as a key area for economic and social development, noting with appreciation the support of the World Bank to install a state-of-the-art fiber optics system.
The President denounced Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and wasteful discarding of bycatch. With respect to tuna and other marine resources, he said that Micronesia must receive fair compensation for the value of its resources. He also addressed the issues of non-communicable diseases in the Pacific and the despicable practice of human trafficking.
He called for reform of the Security Council but also expressed confidence in the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. He said Micronesia looks to the United Nations to effectively address the global security threats posed by climate change. He closed his speech by stating: “All countries must work together to protect our children’s future.”

The full text of President Mori’s statement is available for download here:


Congress approves $5 million U.S. FAA grant for Chuuk State

FSMIS (September 28, 2014): On September 24, 2014, the Federated States of Micronesia Eighteenth Congress approved a grant in the amount of $5,000,000 from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), extended to Chuuk State for airport rehabilitation and relocation of the airfield electrical vault. 

This grant is to fund the second phase of the Chuuk International Airport rehabilitation project. 

Section 210 (2) of Title 55 of the Code of the FSM provides that for an agreement of foreign financial assistance to be valid, it must be approved by resolution of Congress. 

Senatore Wesley Simina, commenting after the adoption of the grant, said the FSM National Government had also provided $125,000 for repair work on the terminal building, which he felt was vitally needed for Chuuk. 

Airport improvements in the FSM States have been done under grant assistances accepted by the National Government. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

FSM Finance accepts $250,000 from FSM National Fisheries Corporation

From left: Mr. Sitan, FSM R&D Secretary Henry and FSM Finance and Administration Secretary Ikosia during formal handing over of payment from NFC to FSM Finance. 
FSMIS (September 27, 2014): On September 26, 2014, Mr. Kensley Ikosia, Secretary of the Federated States of Micronesia Department of Finance and Administration, formally accepted a check of $250,000 from Mr. Peter Sitan, Executive Director of the FSM National Fisheries Corporation. 

In a letter of September 25th, Mr. Marion Henry, Chairman of the NFC Board of Directors, indicates that the money is a fifty-percent payment for an Air Freight loan extended to NFC by the FSM National Government in 1997. 

"This is the first payment ever made by the Corporation which made the Board and Management very proud of this achievement. We hope to pay off the a lance of the air freight loan within the next 12-20 months." 

The formal handing over of the check was done at Secretary Ikosia's office in Palikir. 

FSM Congress agrees on FY15 domestic revenue level of $66,886,705 projected by the President

FSMIS (September 27, 2014): The Congressional Standing Committee on Ways and Means reported to Speaker Dohsis Halbert on September 22nd its concurrence with regards the fiscal year 2015 revenue projection made available by President Manny Mori in accordance with constitutional requirement.

 "Your committee recommends using the Revenue Projection of $66,886,705 in domestic revenue as provided by the FY 2015 Budget Book, as the Committee defers to the President for domestic revenue projections for FY 15."

Congress took the recommendation of the Committee on Ways and Means and adopted a resolution on September 24th (C.R.18-216)"setting the ceiling of the total funds estimated to be available for appropriation from the general fund of the Federated States of Micronesia for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015". 

Congress may choose to amend the "ceiling level" through out the fiscal year depending on the tracking of actual revenue collection which is normally provided to Congress ten days before session by the Secretary of Finance and Administration. This tracking allows the President and Congress to consult on ways to utilize remaining funds, as they become available. 

FSM Government honored in New York by the State of Israel, American Jewish Committee, and World Jewish Congress

New York, 21 Sept 2014  -- While in New York for the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, President Emanuel Mori took the time to join hiscolleague Presidents, Thomas Remengesau Jr of Palau and President Christopher Loeak of the Marshall Islands, in a ceremony jointly hosted by the Israeli government and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) honoring the three Presidents.  The hosts of the event, held at the impressive DonaldTrump Building overlooking the UN Headquarters, also took the opportunity to express appreciation to the three Micronesian nations for their staunch support of Israel at the UN and other international fora. 

The Israeli government was represented by its Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ron Prosor, and the AJC by its US National Chapter President Stanley Bergman.  Also present was Ambassador Peter Rosenblatt, who was President Carter’s top negotiator during the negotiations for the future political status of the former Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands that culminated in the Compact of Free Association.  It has become a tradition for the officers of the AJC, which has had dispatched humanitarian assistance to the FSM, to meet with the FSM head of delegation at the margins of the annual UNGA.

In their appreciation remarks, Prosor and Bergman highlighted both the “courage and conviction” by which the three Micronesian nations deployed their respective votes at the UN in support of Israel.   AJC Executive Director David Harris also expressed appreciation to the Micronesian leaders for following their “conscience” and “moral compass” in supporting Israel. 

In his remarks, President Mori referred to the “special affinities” between the Micronesian and Israeli peoples, derived in large measure by their shared Judeo-Christian values and traditions, reminding that the Micronesians had come to know Israel as the Holy Land long before the consummation of formal relations between the two countries on 23 November 1988.  The President also noted with appreciation that Israel was the very first country in the large region of the Middle East, Africa, and Europe that extended diplomatic recognition to the FSM at uncertain time when the FSM first step unto the world stage as an independent state seeking expanded diplomatic recognition.

Another common denominator between the FSM and Israel that President Mori noted in his statement is the special relationship that both countries, each in its own way, have with the United States. This common denominator also offers an area of common cooperation between the three countries in what has been referred to as Triangular Partnership.

President Mori was joined at the commendation ceremony by First Lady Emma Nelson-Mori, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin S Robert, FSM Permanent Representative to the UN Jane J Chigiyal, FSM Ambassador to the US Asterio R Takesy, OEEM Director Andrew R Yatilman, Deputy Permanent Representative  Jeem S Lippwe, and Deputy Chief of Mission James A Naich.

The next day, a delegation from the World Jewish Congress led by Secretary-General Emeritus Michael Snyder and Rabbi Joel Meyers, paid call on President Mori to also convey appreciation for the support that the FSM has consistently and unhesitatingly given to the State of Israel and the Jewish people around the globe.  The WJC is an umbrella organization of approximately 1000 Jewish groups in about 100 countries.  While this was the first interface with WJC representatives, Rabbi Meyers said “we have gotten to know your country for its courageous support for Israel, which we appreciate deeply.

FSM and Cook Islands establish diplomatic relations

Shaking hands: Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, left, and FSM President Manny Mori. Mr. Jeem Lippwe, Deputy Chief of Mission for the FSM Permanent Mission to the United Nations witnessing the ceremony 
September 24, 2014 (New York) – The Federated States of Micronesia and the Cook Islands today signed a joint communiqué for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The signing ceremony, which took place at the Permanent Mission of Micronesia to the United Nations in New York, was officiated by the Federated States of Micronesia President Emanuel ‘Manny’ Mori and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Hon. Henry Puna.

In the ensuing discussions after the ceremony, the two leaders expressed their readiness to develop mutually beneficial bilateral relations in the political and economic areas and to address climate change and other high priorities of Pacific islands countries.

The Cook Islands becomes the sixty-ninth country with which the FSM has established diplomatic relations.

The meeting was attended by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lorin Robert, Ambassadors Ms. Jane Chigiyal and Mr. Asterio Takesy as well as Mission and Embassy staff. Deputy Permanent Representative, Mr. Jeem Lippwe acted as witness. Ms. Dallas Young witnessed for Cook Islands. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chuuk's Esor Eko to join CIA Board

FSMIS (June 26, 2014): On June 23, 2014, the Federated States of Micronesia Eighteenth Congress confirmed the nomination of Mr. Esor Eko to serve as a member of the Caroline Island Air Board of Directors, representing the State of Chuuk. 
 The FSM Congress has had some time to review Mr. Eko's background in the transportation sector after he was nominated by President Mori.
The approving resolution, C.R. No. 18-204, includes a statement on the nominees background which indicates that Mr. Eko "has had extensive experience working in the 'transportation' field, as he had served as a Captain of the Chuuk Cargo vessel Micro Trader, as Third and Second Officer aboard the Cargo Vessel Herkimer servicing the FSM, and as Captain aboard the FSS Palikir, the first FSM patrol boat".
Mr. Eko is from Ta Island in the Mortlocks region.

President Mori Focuses on Solutions at Climate Summit

President Mori, sitting, at the UN General Assembly hall. Also with him are First Lady Emma Nelson Mori, Mr. Jeem Lippew, Deputy Chief  of Mission, FSM United Nations Mission; Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lori Robert; and FSM Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Asterio Takesy. 
(New York, September 23, 2014): On Tuesday, President Emanuel Mori participated in the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, an event intended to mobilize international action and ambition on climate change.

President Mori focused his remarks on potential solutions and actions that can be taken immediately and produce results quickly. Specifically, he said he believed we can still prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change with innovative actions, such as using the Montreal Protocol to phase down the powerful greenhouse gases HFCs.   

Micronesia was the first to propose this action in 2009, and, since then, many other countries have expressed support for an HFC phase down. This includes Morocco, the co-sponsor of Micronesia’s proposal, as well as the United States and China. President Mori commended President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping for agreeing to work together to phase down HFCs.

During his own Summit statement, Palau President Tommy Remengesau also endorsed reducing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol “in support of our Micronesian brothers”.

The President referenced the latest issue of The Economist magazine, which recognizes the success and enormous potential of the Montreal Protocol to protect climate. He also noted an editorial in the magazine entitled: “Paris via Montreal: The quickest way to cut greenhouse gases is to expand the Montreal protocol”.  

President Mori called on other world leaders to support the HFC amendment, stating “I believe success with the Montreal Protocol in the next six months is our ticket to a successful outcome in Paris in 2015.”

The President’s full statement is available hereunder.   

Thursday, September 25, 2014

President Mori attends Small Islands Developing States international conference, Samoa

Palikir, Pohnpei – FSM Information Services
September, 2014

President Emanuel (Manny) Mori attended the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) held in Apia, Samoa from September 1-4, 2014.   The conference garnered more than 3, 000 participants from members of the United Nations, representatives from the Governments, Private Sector, Civil Society and relevant stakeholders for a four (4) days meeting.  It was the biggest U.N conference held in the Pacific. The theme of this year’s conference is
the Sustainable Development of SIDS through Genuine and Durable Partnership, which produced an outcome document, titled ‘SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and adopted during the closing plenary in Samoa.

In his remarks, H.E. President Mori emphasized the importance of the conference to the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the designation of 2014 as the International Year of the SIDS to highlight their challenges and resilience. He further indicated the importance of partnership to achieve sustainable development. He called on our partners to help us make this happen through new, additional, and predictable funding. He urged our partners to help us build our human resource capacity and also to transfer SIDS-appropriate technology to help build our resiliency to climate change. For Micronesia, we are determined to reduce our dependency on fossil power generation 50% by the year 2020 replaced by renewable energy. President Mori concluded his remark by wishing the Spirit of friendship, cooperation, and the genuine and durable partnership enshrined in the SAMOA Pathway guide us all as we move forward throughout this Conference and beyond. 

In the margins of the SIDS conference, President Mori participated in various side meetings and activities, including the signing of the Treaty establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC) with Palau and the Marshall Islands.  The President had also attended the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) side event and, highlighted the FSM’s support to the Micronesia Challenge.

A number of documents were signed at the margin of the SIDS Conference: the National Indicative Program under 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2014-2020;a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Spanish Government on common interests and cooperation in the areas of climate change, renewable energies, fisheries, ocean protection, natural disasters, educational and cultural exchanges and others; and the SIDS Dock.

 The President was accompanied by First Lady Emma, Secretaries Lorin Robert, Marion Henry, April Skilling, Director Andrew Yatilman, Ambassador Jane Chigiyal and other key officials of the FSM Government and representatives of Civil Society.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 24, 2014 update on Weno Road Project

FSMIS (September 24, 2014): The FSM Program Management Unit (PMU) Office, responsible for overseeing the implementation of infrastructure development projects pertinent to the Compact of Free Association between the FSM and the United States, came out with a recent update on the status of the Weno road project, in response to inquiries from the Public Information Office. 

The road project was put on hold almost a year ago after the PMU decided to terminate construction contract with the Pacific International Inc. (PII) on November 7, 2013.

 In his September 23rd email message, Mr. Bruce Howell from the PMU states that the construction contract for the continuation of the project "has gone through a number of revisions" when reviewed by the FSM Department of Justice (DOJ).

"We received the final version with DOJ signature yesterday (September 22nd).  The contract is in finance now awaiting assignment of a contract number.  Once this is complete, I will send to GPPC for signature.  I hope we can do this today or tomorrow.  Once GPPC signs they will have 10 days to provide their performance and payment bonds and insurance certificates.  Once we receive these, the PMU will issue a written notice to proceed.  The contract performance period will commence 10 days from the date of the notice to proceed."  

Mr. Howell goes on to indicate that, "If GPPC signs tomorrow they have until Oct 5 to submit bonds.  Say PMU issues notice to proceed by Oct 7th.  Contract period starts on Oct 17th.  GPPC should start their mobilization almost immediately.  By mid November they should be doing productive work on the ground".

The PMU awarded the completion of the Weno road project to the Saipan-based contractor, GPPC, Inc., on April 9, 2014. 

Some activities during mid-September, 2014

From far left: Secretary of Resources and Development, Mr. Marion Henry; Chief of Staff Leo Falcam Jr.; Vice President, T.H. Alik L. Alik; Secretary of Finance and Administration, Mr. Kensley Ikosia; Secretary of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure, Mr. Francis Itimai; and Secretary of Education, Dr. Rufino Mauricio -- during a Cabinet Meeting ahead of the start of the Fifth Regular Session of the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia on September 15, 2014.

Other key Department and Office staff attending the Cabinet Meeting at the President's Cabinet Room.

Meeting of the Executive Steering Committee of the Tax Reform Program, with members of the Unified Revenue Authority Board of Trustees observing on September 18th.

Vice President Alik administering the Oath of Office to Mrs. Christina Elnei, Pohnpei State representative on the Unified Revenue Authority Board of Trustees on September 18th at the conclusion of the Executive Steering Committee meeting. Holding the bible is Mrs. Sonia Kephas, staff member of the Tax Reform Program Office.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

FSM Congress passes FY15 budget on first reading and lifts rescrictions to address FY14 budget shortfall

FSMIS (September 22, 2014): On its eight day of this Fifth Regular Session, the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), among other actions, passed the Fiscal Year 2015 Recommended Budget on first reading, with some changes to the bill, and still more changes expected to be made during the final reading.
Senator Isaac V. Figir, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Ways and Means, led the discussion on Standing Committee Report No. 18-209, which recommends the passage of Congressional Bill No. 18-216. The bill is for an Act to appropriate $54,103,500 from the General Fund of the FSM for the Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2015, in order to provide funding for the operations of all the branches of the FSM National Government, its agencies, programs, grants, subsidies, contributions, and capital and human resources development initiatives, and other purposes.
The Members present held some debates before passing the bill on first reading. Vice Speaker Paliknoa K. Welly pushed for and got passed a floor amendment to the bill that resulted in the deletion of a budget line item that would make available an amount of $50,000 to fund sidewalk construction along the Sekere-Palikir road. The Vice Speaker said he understood that another appropriation bill has already included the same construction need as part of its rationale. After much discussion, the Senators accommodated Vice Speaker Welly's concern and agreed to allow the Committee on Ways and Means to work on necessary corrections on the bill's figures before its final reading tomorrow.
Another important action relates to Congressional Bill No. 18-214, which contains a request from the Executive Branch for Congress to lift the restriction on the President's ability to reprogram funds into (and out of) personnel budget in the Executive Branch in order to address personnel budget shortfall for various offices.
Today, on first reading of the bill, Congress passed the lifting of such restriction only for the end of the current fiscal year with some clarifications, specifying that the reprograming must not exceed the amount of $39,000 and only pertains the supplementation of personnel budget for the President's Office, the Public Information Office, the Office of Personnel, the Office of Environment and Emergency Management-- Office of the Director, the Office of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Office of FSM Insurance Board, and the Office of National Archives, Culture and Historic Preservation from any of the personnel budget line items in the Executive Branch for FY14.  
Personnel budget shortfall also occurs in personnel budget item for Members of Congress. Speaker Dohsis Halbert, in response to an informal question by a certain Member, said that the Congress Budget Officer has assured him that Members will be able to get their pay check this Wednesday. How Congress Office addressed existing budget shortfall in Members salary has not been made public yet.
In spite of some positive actions in addressing the shortfall, employees from the affected offices have been informed by their superiors that they will not be able to get their pay check on September 24th. For certain staff of the OEEM, this will be the second pay period that they will not get paid as the fiscal year fades out.
Congress will resume meeting tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to progress action on scheduled items, including a number of Congressional resolutions deferred from today's meeting.
For inquiries on this report, email markapito@gmail.com, or call the FSM Public Information Office at 320-2548.

Monday, September 22, 2014

PMU issues Invitation for Bids re Two construction Projects in Pohnpei State, FSM

Mrs. Changeina Masang appointed FSM Honorary Consul in the Republic of Palau

FSMIS (September 22, 2014): Mrs. Changeina Masang, Chuukese by birth, married and residing in Palau for several years, has been appointed the Honorary Consul of the Federated States of Micronesia in the Republic of Palau by President Manny Mori. 

President Mori made the appointment on September 18th pursuant to Article X of the FSM Constitution and Title 10 of the Code of the FSM and in accordance with Chapter 3 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, as stated in the commissioning document. 

President Mori' appointment requires acknowledgement and giving of credence by the President of the Republic of Palau in order for Mrs. Masang to be able to carry out the duties and functions of her appointed office.  

Vice President Alik informs Congress of $11,121,580 FY14 Supplemental Education Grant

FSMIS (September 22, 2014): Federated States of Micronesia Vice President Alik L. Alik provided Congress information on the approved Supplemental Education Grant for the FSM National Department of Education, the College of Micronesia-FSM, and the education departments for the States of Chuuk, Pohnpei, Yap and Kosrae for the period of October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015.
The distribution of the money is as follows:

FSM Department of Education    $428,812
College of Micronesia – FSM      $683,346
Chuuk State DOE                        $4,226,201
Kosrae State DOE                        $1,212,251
Pohnpei State DOE                      $2,814,872
Yap State DOE                            $1,756,098

Total:                                          $11,121,580

The availability of the “Notification of Grant Award” document was indicated through a September 10, 2014, communication to FSM Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Asterio Takesy, from Mr. Nikolao I. Pula, Diretor, Office of Insular Affairs, United States Department of the Interior. Enclosed with the communication was the notification document itself.

President Mori appoints Associate Justice Johnny Acting Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the FSM

FSMIS (September 22, 2014): On September 11, 2014, Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori appointed Associate Justice Ready Johnny as Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia.

President Mori wrote to Justice Johnny, " In view of the vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice of the  FSM Supreme Court, the President  has the constitutional duty to appoint an associate justice of the Supreme Court to perform the duties of the office pending the appointment of a chief justice".

He went on to say, "Therefore, pursuant to the authority vested in me as the President of the FSM under Article XI Section 4 of the FSM Constitution, you are hereby appointed as Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia until the court vacancy is filled".

The vacancy came about when the late Chief Justice Martin G. Yinug passed away on August 31st in Yap State, leaving the Supreme Court with only two other Justices -- Associate Justice Johnny and Associate Justice Beauleen Carl Worswick. 

According to Mr. Kohsak Keller on September 22nd, Chief Clerk of the FSM Supreme Court, Acting Chief Justice Johnny will continue to be based in Chuuk State. The Supreme Court will coordinate between the main Office in Palikir and the Chuuk Office on matters that require ACJ Johnny's attention. 

For inquiry, contact the FSM Supreme Court Palikir Office at 320-2357 or email fsmpio@mail.fm.

FSM Telecommunications Corporation seeks for a System Administrator

FSM Telecommunications Corporation
Vacancy No: 06-14 
Opening Date: 09/22/2014 
Closing Date: 10/07/2014

Position & Salary

Systems Administrator
$30,000USD minimum per annum. Higher salary may be considered based upon qualification.


FSM Telecommunications Corporation P.O. Box 1210
Pohnpei, FM 96941

The Systems Administrator shall reside in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, where the Corporation is headquartered. The position requires occasional travel to other FSM states.


Associate’s degree or higher in computer science, computer information systems or a closely related field, or the equivalent in professional work experience. He/she should have a minimum of five (5) years work experience in systems or network administration. The incumbent should have the ability to exercise a high degree of professional initiative and autonomy, as demonstrated in his/her record of employment and performance.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Systems Administrator shall be responsible for the operation of the Corporation’s information and communication technology systems. The position primarily requires the applicant to perform IT systems administration duties that are related to the installation, maintenance and support of IT systems servicing FSMTC customers and staff. The Systems Administrator will be involved in the implementation and support of a broad array of IT systems, including but not limited to critical business applications, servers, workstations, network infrastructure, storage arrays, virtualisation technologies, email, database and website systems. The incumbent will be required to perform root cause analysis of problems, troubleshooting of incidents, documentation of systems and preventative maintenance. The successful applicant will provide clear feedback and require sound communication skills between customers, peers and management. The incumbent is responsible for assisting both FSMTC customers and staff, providing technical support and guidance in solving both hardware and software related problems. The Systems Administrator reports directly to the Information Technology Manager.
The Systems Administrator will in particular:
  1. a)  Manage and support the Corporation’s critical line of business applications.
  2. b)  Install and maintain server hardware and software deployments.
  3. c)  Maintain reliable operation of IT services, including IP networks, email, DNS, websites, etc.
  4. d)  Perform preventative maintenance and updates on systems and networking equipment.
  5. e)  Administer aspects of Windows Active Directory domain including user and email management.
  6. f)  Monitor system performance and event logs, taking corrective action when necessary.
  7. g)  Administer various server OS including Windows Server, CentOS and Oracle Linux.
  8. h)  Support, mentor and where necessary, manage junior technicians on relevant systems.
  9. i)  Provide customer service and support for the various services offered by the Corporation.
  10. j)  Troubleshoot and resolve customer incidents quickly and efficiently, minimizing downtime.
  11. k)  Develop and maintain detailed documentation of systems, networks, processes and their relationships.
  12. l)  Provide after-hours support as needed on a 24-hour basis, particularly for emergency problem resolution for the Corporation’s data and communication systems.
  13. m)  Perform other related duties as assigned.
How to Apply

Applications can be obtained from any FSMTC office or on our website at www.fsmtc.fm/jobs. Applications, CV/resumes and reference letters can be submitted to Ludick Edward, HR Manager, via email to ludick.edward@fsmtc.fm or via post to the above address.
FSMTC Headquarters P.O. Box 1210 Pohnpei, FM 96941
Phone +691 320 2740
Fax +691 320 2745 http://www.fsmtc.fm customerservice@fsmtc.fm
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Over $600 Thousand SAMHSA grant awarded to nine service providers in the FSM

On September 4, 2014, Dr. Vita A. Skilling, Secretary of the Federated States of Micronesia  Department of Health and Social Affairs, approved the use of the $644,178 Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block grant to nine applicants to provide prevention and treatment services on substance use throughout the FSM states as recommended by the FSM Behavioral Health and Wellness Advisory Council.

From August 29th to September 3rd, the FSM Behavioral Health and Wellness Advisory Council met in Kosrae State to review and hear justifications from the applicants regarding their funding proposals. More than twenty percent of the grant was awarded to four Non-Government Agencies to provide drug prevention programs and the rest of the grant was designated to the National and State Behavioral Health and Wellness programs to provide treatment counseling, community prevention and administrative services.

The United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awards to FSM this type of grant every year to prevent the risks of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs that cause social problems, diseases, harm, injuries and death. The SAPT Block grant will be available from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015.

For inquiry, call the Department at 320-2619 or email Mr. Kerio Walliby via kwalliby@fsmhealth.fm.

To our valuable recipients of FSM Updates from our blogger, corrections

I wish to bring to your attention that there is an error in the previous article released about 2 hours ago regarding the SAMHSA grant for the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs.

The title of the article incorrectly states that the grant amount allocated amongst 9 "service providers" in the country is "over $600 million". The correct amount is "over $600 Thousand", or as specified in the body of the article.

The FSMPIO begs your pardon for incorrectly reporting to you earlier today. The correction has had been made on other media platforms. Hope the correction has been properly noted with our information users.

Have a great weekend.

FSM set to operationalize the new Unified Revenue Administration system

FSMIS (September 19, 2014): On September 18, 2014, the Federated States of Micronesia Vice President Alik L. Alik convened the Executive Steering Committee (ESC) for the FSM Tax Reform Program at the President’s Cabinet Room, Palikir, Pohnpei.

The ESC consists of the Vice President as chairman and the four Governors of the State Governments in the FSM: Governor Sebastian Anefal, Yap State; Governor Johnson Elimo, Chuuk State; Governor John Ehsa, Pohnpei State, and Governor Lyndon Jackson, Kosrae State.

After welcoming ESC members to Palikir, Vice President Alik briefed the Governors on President Manny Mori’s decision to transition the FSM Division of Customs and Tax Administration (CTA) to the Unified Revenue Authority (URA) in Fiscal Year 2015 and solicited further input from the Executives.

The URA was created through FSM Public Law 16-75, which is known as the FSM Unified Revenue Authority Act of 2010.

Mr. Rensley Sigrah, the Tax Reform Program manager, also helped in guiding discussions, drawing attention to earlier ESC recommendations with respect to revenue reform for all governments and the need to transition to the URA in FY15.

It was pointed out that current CTA personnel will move into a new system under the URA, with governing power vested in a 5-member Board of Trustees. The transitioning will be initiated on October 1st with the expectation that the URA will be able to assume full-blown administrative capacities by January, 2015.

In general, the ESC concurs to having the URA oversee the administration of taxes for the FSM National Government and the State Governments as part of longstanding endeavor to reform tax regime in the FSM and maintain a unified front for all the governments. It is also the position of the ESC to prevent over-burdening of any of the participating governments as far as the initial financing of the URA’s administrative and related costs as the system charts a new way forward.

Additionally, the meeting allowed members to jointly review the current status of the Tax Reform program after the Revenue Administration Act (RAA) went down with the Sunset Clause mandate. The mandate required that the RAA could only be implemented if all the State Governments enacted their respective Value Added Tax (VAT) by April 30, 2014. Only Chuuk State and Kosrae State opted to enact the VAT Tax. However, ESC members stressed their common view that the remaining States that chose not to enact their VAT Tax before the “sunset” clause deadline could still determine to do so in the future to be in sync with the others.

At the end of the meeting, Vice President Alik conducted the oath of office for Pohnpei States representative on the URA Board of Trustee, Ms. Christina Elnei, who is currently the Acting Director of the Pohnpei State Department of Finance, bringing the Board to full membership.

Other members of the Board took part in the ESC meeting as observers. Later on during the day, the Board held its own session also at the President’s Cabinet Room.

For further information, please contact Tax Reform Program at 320-6553 or email fsmpio@mail.fm.