Acting USDA RD State Director Pang Ching meets Yap Officials
Palikir, Pohnpei (Yap State Department of Youth and Civic Affairs/FSM Information Services): July 23, 2009 - The Acting State Director for the USDA Rural Development (USDARD) Hawaii State Office, Ms. Melissa Leialoha Pang Ching, met with Yap State Governor, Hon. Sebastian Anefal, and some members of his Cabinet this morning. The purpose of the visit is to hold open discussions on the Rural Development Programs aside from the housing. Following her introductory remarks, Mr. Timothy W. O'Connell, Assistant to the State Director, went into details on some of the programs available under USDARD.
During the discussion a concern was raised on the program's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan scheme which has not been implemented in the state and the nation due to certain imposed prerequisites for local lenders, such as the Bank of the FSM to become USDARD "approved lenders". The matter, according to Mr. O'Connell, is under review and consideration. Other questions on renewable energy projects such as the recent grant to the Republic of the Marshall Islands were addressed and Yap was encouraged to pursue a similar path.
On housing projects, it was pointed out, by Mr. Donald K. Estes, that Yap has not submitted any packaged project under this program. Furthermore, he stated, USDARD has underutilized available funding for this program. He hopes to work closely with their local office and the local housing authorities to get more applications in. In reply, Governor Anefal shared his frustrations in getting the housing program implemented locally and said there has to be something we are not doing right as he compares implementation of the program from the Marshall Islands to Palau. He said his interest, in light of the increasing population of the state, is for the Yapese people to get better and safer homes but somehow people are not applying for this housing program assistance. If there are bottlenecks or "politicking" at the state level that may be hampering such opportunities, the Office of the Governor should be notified to work on solutions.
The Acting State Director is scheduled to meet also with other State officials as well as local lenders, the Chamber of Commerce, and other interested NGO groups. The fourth member of the team, Mr. James Watts from a US based NGO was holding separate meetings with the Yap State Public Service Corporations and the two local water Authorities.
For further information contact DY&CA at 350-2168/2169 or visit www.yapstategov.org.
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