The Sixth Special Session of the 16th FSM Congress Adjourned Sine Die
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): April 12, 2011 - The 16th FSM Congress concluded its 6th Special Session on March 31, 2011 in what may very well be the last undertaking for this Sixteenth FSM Congress. Per Honorable Speaker Isaac V. Figir's summon for the Sixth Special Session, Congress was poised to have a short five days duration. However, the session was extended all the way up to March 31, 2011, the day that marks first year anniversary of the designation of March 31st every year to be Micronesian Culture and Tradition Day.
A number of crucial measures for the FSM were addressed during this special session. Perhaps the most notable of these measures is the Unified Revenue Authority bill (URA). As soon as this bill was passed in second and final reading on the very last day, Speaker Figir beamed with smile and relief as he looked out at the other nine senators in the Chamber and said, "thank you very much gentlemen" and a chorus of congratulatory applause ensued. This bill is the forerunner of a total of five "tax reform" bills that would create an independent central unit that is to collect state and national taxes pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between the state and national governments in the federation. With the conclusion of the 16th congress, the remaining four tax reform bills will be taken up by the next congress.
Previously, Congress tackled a package for fishing agreement between FSM and the Luen Thai Fishing Venture, Ltd (LTFV) which has been pending with Congress since January 4, 2011. According to Standing Committee Report No. 14-14, "LTFV is a locally established foreign fishing company in the FSM and has been operating in Pohnpei State for nearly fifteenth (15) years now and centered only on the long line fishery." Although the committee on Resources and Development indicated favorable consideration of the proposed agreement, Congress expressed apprehension especially over the "extensive" 10 years duration stipulated in the agreement. Generally, Congress wanted NORMA to reconsider scaling down ten years duration which would seem to already reserve LTFV the "upper hand" in the deal.
Another positive note is the adoption of Congress Resolution (C.R) 16-168 which went through very rough waters before it saw the day light. This resolution approved a proposed budget of $1,171,651.00 for the Project Management Unit (PMU), as submitted by the Office of the President in April, 2010. This resolution signals Congress consent to proposed PMU budget which would in turn give basis to the Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) awarding of grant for PMU out of Infrastructure Sector grants for the FSM under the amended Compact pertinent to the terms of such resolution.
Two different funding bills were combined into one proposed funding that would allocate a total of $180,000 out of general fund to be channeled through the Micronesian Red Cross Society for relief efforts in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Congress feels this appropriation is a gesture of support in time of great grief and destruction and hopes the assistance would contribute in providing immediate relief to afflicted families. The President has expressed he is in accord with Congress to the extent this appropriation is a humanitarian response from FSM to our affected friends and partners.
Congress has transmitted resolutions and acts for this special session to the President for review and necessary action.
For further information on this release, please contact:
FSM Office of the President Public Information: Press, Radio, Video P.O Box 34 Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941 Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092 Fax.: (691) 320-4356 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.fsmpio.fm/