PALIKIR, POHNPEI. September 16, 2013 – The Second Regular Session of the Eighteenth Congress of Federated States of Micronesia is in its second week of deliberations on the National governments’ proposed budget of $63,630,666 for fiscal year 2014.
Congress convened on September 12th and continued its hearings with the departments, offices and agencies of the National government to justify President Manny Mori’s proposed budget of $63 plus million apportioned for National government operations as detailed in Congressional Bill 18-47. Of the total amount, about 85% or $54,321,014 is to be funded through domestic revenues while the remaining 15% or $9,309,652 will be from funds available under the Amended Compact.
The President’s transmittal letter highlighted four key achievements of the 2014 proposed budget submission. First, the proposed budget is in adherence to strict discipline of overall operations with an increase of only 3.21% over the FY2013 level.
Second, the proposed budget has created room for a set-aside of $10 million for 2023 and a contribution of $3million into the FSM Trust Fund. Third, the proposed budget placed emphasis and priority on the investment side. And finally, the President noted that the proposed budget is presented in a new format for easier review.
With all the budgetary hearings addressed during the second week, Congress is hoping to wrap up and balance the proposed budget by week three or next week.
In addition to the budget deliberations, Congress passed a few measures during its second week among which included Congressional Act 18-12 to modify the formula for distribution of Compact funds and reduce the National Government’s share. The current distribution formula was agreed to in EPIC Resolution No. 2005-3-01 to be effective from fiscal years 2007 to 2013 with the National Governments’ share of Compact funding at 10%. The new Act proposes a modification of that formula to reduction the National Governments’ share from 10% to only 5% to provide additional funding to the states.
In accordance with the Act, the Compact Budget request for fiscal year 2014 and thereafter of the National Government and each of the State Governments is to be based on the following division: Chuuk – 40.11 %; Kosrae – 11.50 %; Pohnpei - 26.72 %; Yap – 16.67%; and the National Government at 5%.
In addition to the Congressional Acts, three Resolutions were also adopted and they are:
Congressional Resolution (CR) 18-23, to classify federally funded health employees of the national government working at the state level as state employees;
CR 18-55, to approve and accept a US Department of Health grant to fund the FSM’s Tracking Surveillance and Integration Project; and
CR 18-58: to approve and adopt the Nation-wide integrated Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Policy for the FSM.
The Congress will reconvene on Monday, September 23rd for its third week and hopefully complete its deliberations on the FY2014 budget for transmittal to the President.