Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Congress News, October 18, 2004

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Congress): October 18, 2004 - On Monday, 18 October, 2004 Congress went into recess again to allow its standing committees to work on pending measures assigned to them.

The Committee on Transportation and Communications held a public hearing this morning on a bill to require congressional review and approval of the annual budget of the FSM TeleCommunications Corporation.

In part, that bill provided that the budget shall indicate the operational, capital, and maintenance requirements of the Corporation that will be met with the anticipated revenues of the Corporation, and such essential requirements as cannot be met without increase in the rate of revenues or outside financial assistance.

During the hearing this morning, Members of the committee and officials of the department discussed the possibilities for the enhancement of congressional control, as there is currently very little external oversight of its operations and financial position. At this morning's hearing officials from the Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure met with the Committee to discuss this bill. On Thursday, there will be a further meeting which officials from the corporation will attend. Both Committee and Department agreed that Congress should be able to approve the selection of its boards or directly review the annual budget of the corporation and appoint a representative of the national government, selected by the Department to the corporation's board.

Later in the afternoon the Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee discussed two bills relating to public service employees.

The first bill contained a proposal to modify and clarify the premiums payable to certain public service employees and the second bill pertains to filling public service vacancies.

In relations to the first bill, Members expressed their disappointment that under the current system, U.S. citizens were given preferential treatment in respect of the payment of professional premiums. There was agreement that equal pay should be given for equal work, regardless of their nationality of the particular employee.

The Committee also agreed that further consideration should be given to whether the existing procedure for filling public service vacancies is the best means of ensuring that the most suitable people are appointed.

Working groups were set up to review each of the bills and report to the Committee next week.

For further information on this release, please contact:

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia
Public Information Office
P.O Box PS-3
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2324/2325
Fax.: (691) 320-5122