There is interest in OEK to extend CROSS Act beyond September 30, on toward December, according to Minister of Finance Kaleb Udui Jr.

Minister Udui added that based on cost cutting measures implemented this year, they expect some funding to be available for this program to continue at least until December.  He added that there is interest in OEK to continue the program and the discussion is ongoing while the budget is being deliberated.

Meanwhile, Minister Ngirai Tmetuch of MHRCTD said they are working to fine tune the employment program to allow matching of employees to potential local employers.  As part of this process, they helped 388 people develop their resumes enabling them to seek employment elsewhere when the program lapses.

CROSS Act, a law which appropriated funding to help mitigate impact of COVID-19 pandemic is set to expire this September 30, 2021.  Under the CROSS Act, funding was appropriated to pay salaries of those who lost their jobs or were let go by their employers as result of COVId-19.  For those whose employments were still open, were able to return back to their original jobs and their salaries were subsidized by the government and those that lost their jobs due to business closures were assigned government jobs temporarily and were paid under CROSS Act.

Ministry of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism & Development (MHRCTD), reported approximately 397 Palauans currently funded under the CROSS Act whose programs will end when the Act expires this month.  (L.N. Reklai)

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