Citing establishing a good working relationship with the Olbiil Era Kelulau (congress) as the biggest accomplishment of his administration’s first year in office, President Whipps said that “working and partnering with OEK…helps us build a foundation of a stronger economy for the future. The concern now is how Palau can build a more resilient future.”
“Today we will sign into law a bill number 15, I think, an important legislation that helps us build a foundation of a stronger economy in the future,” stated President Whipps referring to the Digital Residency bill.
He mentioned other laws that have passed OEK such as tax reform, budget, and government re-organization as examples of the success of working in partnership with Congress.
Re-organization of the government was another accomplishment, he added, noting as an example the changes made to the Ministry of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism & Development that resulted in an office focusing on helping Palauans find jobs.
Keeping Palau covid-safe and continuing to open up to visitors is another major accomplishment claimed, attributing the success to the Ministry of Health’s successful efforts to keep covid out.
“We could have been worse off than we are now,” stated Whipps. He said that the earlier predictions said that Palau would be in a worse position than it is now but he said that due to great partnerships with the United States and the laws passed, Palau is in a much better position today.
Whipps took office while Palau was already a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Palau had already obtained loans from Asian Development Bank and tapped into its reserves to balance the budget shortfall of 2020. It had gained pre-approval for concessionary loans from the bank to fund the 2021 budget and the United States had extended its pandemic assistance to Palau through the US Department of Labor.
Passage of legislative reforms were conditions of the remaining concessionary loans and without congressional approval, that loan needed to balance the budget this year would not be possible.
With available loan funding to run out next fiscal year, President Whipps is pushing to revive tourism and establish new revenue streams. This, he said, requires a good working relationship with congress.