State-National Leadership Conference Concludes Today
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): February 6, 2009 - Day Two of the State-National Leadership Conference (SNLC) met with a full agenda in the Central Conference Facility at the Palikir national government compound. The meeting began with a report from the Chairman of the working group on the infrastructure bill, the FSM Secretary of Justice, who explained that more time was needed to complete the draft of the proposed legislation. Therefore, the Chairman of the SNLC moved the direction on to other subjects.
The group addressed the Non-project scheme of assistance from the government of Japan. The principals agreed that since this scheme was initially created to relieve the increase in the cost of fuel that the FSM has experienced, they will direct this assistance to projects related to energy development. Both Congress and a screening committee specific to this scheme of assistance will decide on which projects to fund.
The principals were presented next with the latest information on the Airport Improvement Projects that are ongoing in all four states. After the presentation, the principals decided that the 5% matching funds that are required for these grants should come from infrastructure monies to make sure that all states have the ability to match the funds for these important projects.
After lunch, the SNLC was presented with the draft copy of the proposed infrastructure bill. After time for review, the Honorable Mr. John Esha, Governor of Pohnpei, proposed adopting the bill as is. The group agreed to this and President Mori had the bill, which is asking for appropriation of more than $46 million for infrastructure projects, transmitted up to Congress later that day. All four governors expressed their excitement and hope that this bill passes Congress and forward progress will be seen in infrastructure projects in the near future.
Following this, presenters from the Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure gave presentations on air and sea transportation issues in FSM. Of note, the group decided that a task force focused on air transportation contact other airlines about the possibility of flying directly to FSM from other ports besides Guam, and in regards to sea transportation, since only 1 of 3 national government ships is in operation and the states are suffering from reduced services, a separate task force needs to look into a remedy for this situation.
Although there were other agenda items, the chairman suggested that since none of the remaining items were actionable, that the meeting should conclude. All principals were in agreement and it was decided that the SNLC should close and reconvene with the next session of the FSM Congress which is slated to begin on March 16, 2009.
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