Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Congress News, October 22, 2004

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Congress): October 22, 2004 - The week of October 18 - October 22, was full of hearings. Next week there will be more hearings that is because this is where the real work is done before the yes and no votes are counted.

Yesterday, October 21, the Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations discussed with the Departments of Finance and Foreign Affairs the current set up for appointing the FSM representatives to JEMCO. Some of the witness said the current system is inadequate in dealing with the United States. The committee and the departments agreed that FSM should speed up its work to ensure that demands of the amended Compact are fully carried out to provide the benefits anticipated under it are realized.

The need to create an office to implement the functions of the JEMCO was raised, and was said to be an executive function. It was agreed that at least one of the voting members should be from the national government.

Today the Committee on Resources and Development discussed three fishing agreements with officials of NORMA, which NFC submitted for congressional review and approval.

One of the agreements will extend the time for certain fishing boats currently long-lining in FSM waters. This agreement proposed to last three years. With the current agreement, there is $14,000 collected as license fees for each 25 vessels per year and with the new agreement, there will be $22,000 for each 40 vessels for a three-year term.

The other agreements also deal with extending the license of some line-liners and pure-seiners that are due before the end of the year.

The issues of transhipments, transhipping facilities, volume of catches, updating of tuna stock and requirements of agreements for fishing licenses were raised and discussed at length. The need for a biologist and geologist was also raised as well as the need to look at the salary of the Deputy Director of the NORMA in order to raise it to a level closer to the Director.

Later in the afternoon, the Committee on Ways and Means held hearings.

This time the committee discussed with the Departments of Finance, Foreign Affairs and other relevant departments and offices the Performance Based Budget. After a review of the main elements of the measure by the Legislative Counsel and Budget Officer, the Committee heard from quite a few people from the executive about how much they dislike the program. In general, most of the speakers said the PBB is burdensome and not workable.

Adding the setting of goals and objectives is not appropriate given the nature of their work, although, they agreed with the motives behind the PBB.

The Committee requested that the concerned departments and agencies submit their views to Congress no later than Wednesday, October 27.

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