WASHINGTON, 27 AUGUST 2020 (US GOVT/FSM GOVT) —The bilateral Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) of the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) concluded its annual meeting and approved a total of US$62,968,281 in Compact of Free Association funding for fiscal year 2021 for the FSM.
The JEMCO annual meeting is required under U.S. Public Law 108-188, where its members review budgetary spending proposed by the FSM government and allocate funding, primarily directed towards the health and education sectors in the FSM, as agreed to under the Compact.
“Our JEMCO meeting went very well and the U.S.-FSM relationship remains strong despite the current travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, and I commend the FSM for its successful efforts to keep Covid-19 from reaching its people,” said JEMCO Chairman Nikolao Pula.
“We recognise that Compact funding will be increasingly critical in light of current circumstances and that it continues to provide fiscal stability and support to the FSM government, particularly in the health and education sectors.”
“The successful completion of the recently held JEMCO meeting between the FSM and the United States is a validation of the commitment and understanding which underpins the on-going efforts by both countries to strengthen the bilateral relationship and the historical bonds that have existed throughout the years,” said FSM Ambassador to the United States Akillino Susaia.
“The FSM continues to acknowledge and appreciate the financial assistance from the U.S. through the Compact sector grants which helps underwrite FSM’s ability to provide the essential government services to its people.”
“Education and health are two of the most vital sectors for any country especially during these trying times. The U.S. Government is proud to continue to support the programs and initiatives of the Federated States of Micronesia and to reaffirm our enduring and special partnership,” said U.S. Ambassador to the FSM Carmen G. Cantor.
The JEMCO allocated US$62,968,281 in fiscal year 2021 Compact of Free Association sector grant assistance to the following sectors:
US$1,557,090 Enhanced Reporting and Accountability
US$1,318,257 Public Sector Capacity Building
US$175,000 Private Sector Development
JEMCO further resolved that the use of Infrastructure Sector assistance would be authorised for the Pohnpei Utilities Corporation Water Treatment Plant in Pohnpei and the Agriculture Station Facility in Kosrae. The JEMCO also came to an understanding that an additional US$15,850,855 of fiscal year 2021 Compact assistance, above and beyond the US$8.3 million approved, would remain available for possible infrastructure projects in the FSM for fiscal year 2021.
In his opening remarks, Chairman Pula expressed condolences on behalf of the JEMCO to the FSM families residing in the United States who have had members pass away as a result of Covid-19. Chairman Pula also acknowledged U.S. member Bill Gallo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who is retiring from the federal government and whose participation in this meeting represented his last.
The JEMCO comprises five members: Chairman Nikolao Pula (U.S. Department of the Interior); Vice Chairman Lorin Robert (FSM Office of the President); Leo Falcam, Jr. (FSM Office of the President); William Gallo (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); and Suzanne Lawrence (U.S. State Department).
The JEMCO serves to promote the effective use of funding under the Compact agreement and serves as a forum for the FSM and U.S. officials to discuss mutual priorities regarding this funding and how best to achieve them for the betterment of people in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Certain provisions of the current Compact of Free Association agreement between the FSM and the United States are set to expire in 2023. Bilateral discussions are underway related to the expiring provisions….PACNEWS