Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Vice President Urge Pohnpei's Youths to Fish and Farm

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): November 17, 1997 - Vice President Leo A. Falcam, on November 8, 1997, addressed the gathering of Pohnpei's youths at the PICS auditorium in a rally organized in conjunction with the celebration of the Pohnpei Constitution on November 8, 1997.

Falcam told his audience that it gives him a great joy to speak to the young people because he sees in them the hope and future of "our community and nation."

Falcam says he sees hope in their lives to be contributing members of their community. He advised the youths to ask themselves what they can do as individuals and as a group to make a better 21st Century for themselves in generations to come.

Falcam said there is a need to shift the focus from public sector to private sector development and that the youths have an important role to play. Their task is to build on the strong foundations already built by their predecessors who have attained nationhood and political independence, a great achievement, he stated.

Much works remains ahead towards achieving economic independence. Falcam challenges the future generations to undertake their roles seriously and urgently.

"We are now enjoying a modest but comfortable living standard which without external aid," Falcam stated, "we would not have been able to sustain given our current low level of productivity."

"Outside aid is good," Falcam said but cautioned, "but something we should not learn to depend upon."

As FSM is a sovereign nation we must provide for ourselves. The financial assistance from the United States to FSM under the Compact of Free Association is secured until the year 2001. Although there will be negotiations for a continued relationship between the United States and FSM, it is uncertain whether the same level of financial support will continue.

In view of this situation, a thorough and wide discussion should be held to find some answers. One of the main handicaps of FSM's economy is its weak private sector, Falcam noted, adding that the public sector is to large for the nation to afford.

Falcam noted that the public sector has "crowded out opportunities for growth in the private sector and attracted many bright and qualified individuals whose energies if focused in the private sector could contribute meaningfully."

In dynamically developed countries, Falcam stated, private sector is always the larger of the two sectors. The key to developing our economy, Falcam said, is to be self-sustaining by focusing on private rather than on public sector.

Falcam said the government has started reform programs including developing private sector under restructuring of the public sector which includes restructuring of the government workforce to be affordable, efficient and responsive to the needs of the people.

Laws, regulations and policies which provide conductive environment for private sector development are being enacted, Falcam said. The government cannot develop the private sector by itself," Falcam declared adding, "everyone has to take part in this effort in order to be successful."

Falcam told the youth gathering that they can contribute to the growth of the economy by fishing the fish filled ocean and farming the land. "There is a whole bunch of things out there for you young people to go into," Falcam assured his audience. Adding, "something to keep in mind is to always take pride in what you do because only then will you be successful in your work."

In closing, the Vice President re-emphasized the need to shift the focus of the economy from public to private sector which would lead to the goal of economic security.

"As Vice President of our nation," Falcam stated, "I pose this challenge to you young people of our nation and have faith in you, faith that you will all contribute to this effort either as future leaders of our nation or as productive members of our community," Falcam concluded.

Other speakers included Chief Justice of Pohnpei State Supreme Court and Pohnpei Governor Del Pangelinan. Nearly 1000 young people from around the island and local officials attend the rally.

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