Proposed supplemental budget for FY 2020 taps the Non-Communicable Disease accumulated funds, General Fund Reserve and the available Green Fee monies to fund the budget and limits using projected unrestricted local revenue as a funding source.
“In spite of strong revenue performance in the 1st quarter, the ongoing threat of the Corona Virus and its negative impact on our Tourism Industry is a major cause of concern and uncertainty,” stated President Remengesau Jr. in his budget transmittal to OEK last week.
The letter further states, “we must position ourselves to ensure that important services and programs continue uninterrupted should the events turn to the worst.”
The supplemental budget proposal includes $300,000 to the Ministry of Health to cover the cost of monitoring the coronavirus. Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts during the leadership meeting this week said that the funds are only enough to cover overtime expenses of monitoring and screening of the virus. Asks if this fund is enough to prepare Palau to handle an infected person, Minister Emais Roberts replied that more funds are needed for that.
The budget also proposes to appropriate $1.6 million to subsidize PPUC’s waste and sewer costs with funds coming from the available Green Fees allocated for water and sewer. A $1.8 million is to be drawn from General Fund Reserve to subsidize PPUC’s power operations. The bill also says that the funds will be reimbursed once PPUC secures a loan.
The bill also authorizes the President of Palau to seek and secure the concessionary loan for Palau Public Utilities Corporation.
Also included in the budget is $305,000 for Palau Election Commission to conduct the primary and general elections of 2020. $128,000 is allocated to Palau Public Auditor and $94,000 is allocated to the Attorney General’s Office to recruit junior auditors and additional attorneys.
The proposed budget also seeks to appropriate $150,000 for Saipan-Belau Bai and community center in Saipan and $50,000 to fund the 26thMechesil Belau Conference.
Other bureaus and agencies to be receive funding from this budget are National Emergency Management Office of $30,000, Bureau of Land & Surveys of $28,000, Bureau of Communications of $150,000, Immigration & Labor of $32,000, Bureau of Public Safety of $115,000, Bureau of Maritime Security and FWP of $55,000, Palau Community Action Agency (PCAA) of $50,000 and Belau Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (BANGO) of $93,000.
All together $4.375 million is requested as a supplemental budget for this fiscal year 2020. (L.N. Reklai)