Koror State Government under the direction of Governor Eyos Rudimch is taking on the full inventory of all submerged water/land leases within Koror.
“With the first months in office, we put together the complete financial picture of the state and presented that to the leadership. We need to conduct an inventory and put together an asset portfolio of the state so that we know what we have,” explained Governor Rudimch of the efforts to complete the asset inventory.
The work includes creating a database of all the submerged water/land leases that have been executed over the past years. The data will include the lease location, size, lease terms, rates, and lessees.
The information collected so far is not complete due to limited manpower but Governor Rudimch expects that it will be completed by year-end.
“Once it’s done, I want to streamline the process and transfer the responsibility to the Land Authority which is responsible for land property management. I think that would be the proper body to manage submerged water/land leases,” stated Governor Rudimch.
Asked if any of the leases seen so far have been executed illegally, Governor Rudimch said that he is working based on the assumption that they are all legal.
Lack of transparency in the submerged water leases was one of the issues raised during the 2021 gubernatorial campaign.
Governor Rudimch said his motivation for conducting the asset inventory is to understand the financial viability of the state. The effort to get a loan to help the state during this financial crisis he said, is pushing him to look at various revenue streams that can improve the state’s ability to repay the loan.
“Right now, our monthly operating expense is around $600,000. We are using our reserve funds to pay our expenses,” Rudimch added.
Under Koror State law, the leasing of submerged land/water within Koror State jurisdiction falls under the Governor. Unlike public lands that are managed by a number of appointed people, the approval process for submerged water/land leases is solely under the authority of the state governor.