Kaleb Udui Jr., an appointee of President Surangel Whipps Jr. to the Ministry of Finance faced a deluge of tough questions from the Senators during his confirmation last week, particularly dealing with current issues of economic recovery and national debts.
One of the first three ministerial appointees of President Whipps, Udui’s appointment is probably the most critical ministry to the Whipps administration, the Ministry of Finance, as Palau works to recover economically from the pandemic and doing so sustainably.
Foremost question raised with Udui was Debt Ceiling, whether Palau has maxed out on its credit, in other words, have it acquired more debts than it can safely sustain.
Udui said no, Palau has not reached its debt ceiling but that it needs to put in place policies to strengthen its repayment ability.
Tax reform represents a major policy change that Whipps administration supports and Mr. Udui’s experience in this area was one of the reasons cited by President Whipps of his appointment.
Mr. Udui assured Senators that the proposed tax reform was long overdue and it fits Palau’s current economy and business environment.
“We can benefit from tax reform…At this time when businesses are so weak, we can use the tax policy to help strengthen businesses,” stated Udui.
On an issue of transparency and accountability, Udui believed that a lot can be done through regulations to create transparency and greater accountability.
Mr. Udui’s confirmation hearing was held after Charles Obichang who was nominated to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce, a Ministry he led for eight years under President Remengesau Jr.

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