Committee to Wait discusses Supplemental Budget with President

PALIKIR, POHNPEI. November 28 ,2022 – The Committee to Wait met with President David W. Panuelo on November 28, 2022, where his agenda was distributed and detailed with the Committee and summarized in Special Committee Report (SCR) 22-11.

On Day 2 of the Sixth Special Session of the 22nd Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, the summarized report of the President’s agenda was adopted with the following details as presented to the Congress by Vice Speaker Moses, items of the agenda are as follows; a supplemental budget, Skills & Employability Enhancement Program (SEEP) grant, Pacific International Inc.(PII) judgement, Marine Spatial Planning, Eastern Micronesian Cable (EMC) resolution, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Cybercrimes Bill, Priority Tax Bills and a $4 million grant for ADB for Renewable Energy(resubmission).

Vice Speaker Esmond B. Moses headed the Committee, along with Senator Isaac V. Figir, Senator Perpetua S. Konman and Senator Rolinson Neth. The discussions of the meeting began with Vice Speaker Moses thanking the President and key members of the Executive Staff the opportunity for attending the meeting and informed the President that the Congress was in session and ready to transact business.

First item on the agenda was a revenue projection by the President to the Committee in the amount of $18.7 million of unappropriated funds beginning this current session, $8.3 million are to be earmarked for Capital Infrastructure Projects (CIP) by the executive’s request for the construction of new buildings to be reserved for the Department of Education and Social Affairs on the national compound. An additional request for funds to purchase a new embassy building in Washington D.C. to replace the current building that had been recently marked as a historical site, as such the F.S.M. Embassy will have to be relocated. The Congress was advised of an initial $11.6 million supplemental request, however the President has informed the Committee in detail of a larger amount to be requested.  The supplemental budget includes a request for housing, additional travel for the Executive branch, supporting the election process, legal services for the Compact negotiations and funding for specific departments and agencies.

The discussions were carried over to the resubmission of the Skills and Employability Enhancement Program (SEEP) Grant. Secretary of the Department of Education, Ms. Gardenia Aisek advised the Committee that the World Bank has extended the grant’s deadline to January 30, 2023 and hopes the bill will eventually be passed by the Congress before then.   

The next item on the agenda is the Marine Spatial Planning Bill that will pave the way for a legal framework to evaluate, protect and manage our Nation’s resources, and not a means to exploit it. The President seeks approval of this bill and has tasked the Department of Justice in providing further explanations and details should the Congress require further specifics.

The President reported to the Committee that the payment of Pacific International Inc. (PII) case will not be included in the supplemental budget, but will be covered in another proposed legislation, “The Civil Liabilities Bill”. A revolving fund for ‘civil liabilities’ has been committed to the Committee on J&GO to be evaluated in due course.

Regarding the litigation between the Open Access Entity (OAE) and the FSM Telecommunications Corporation, the President was content in sharing to the Committee that FSM Telecom will not be appealing the partial summary judgement, though there still remains pending legal issues to be resolved. The United States, Australia and Japan have intervened to assist FSM in resolving the East Micronesia Cable project by providing funding outside the World Bank to continue its progress, as further delays will amount to additional costs. A proposed resolution by the President  will be submitted to the Congress for careful consideration as the matter is still pending litigation.  

The Freedom of Information Act is a proposition by the President to have information specialists embedded in each department for the purpose of transparency to disseminate pertinent  information to the public. The bill will contain proposals on how to convey and secure confidential information and transmissions.

The next item on the agenda is the Cybercrimes bill that the President is seeking Congress’ approval, the bill would provide the legal framework for this particular type of crime. The Committee has assured the President that the Congress is currently reviewing the legislation.

The President reported to the Committee that new software has arrived to assist the Department of Finance and Administration to facilitate the payment and recordation of taxes in a more secure and efficient manner. In the future it is hoped that taxpayers will be able to make payment online in a similar way.

Among many of the grants, the President has prioritized Asian Development Bank’s grant in the amount of $4 million for Congress’ approval. The grant is to promote renewable energy to support a national disaster fund, in addition to support mitigation, adaptation and disaster relief efforts.

The Committee requested the President to investigate the delay in solar energy projects slated for all four states of the FSM, in response, the President has tasked the Secretary of TC&I to investigate the matter. Another issue the Committee requested the President’s assistance is a follow up on the procurement and payment of a marine vessel for the State of Chuuk.

The Sixth Special Session of the 22nd Congress will convene for 10 days, or extended by congressional resolution. Congress sessions within the Chambers will begin in the morning at 10 a.m. Pohnpei time and is open to all interested parties, alternatively, the public will be able to witness sessions through Congress’ website at


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