Charles Obichang, nominee for the Ministry of Public Infrastructure & Industries and Kaleb Udui Jr., nominee for Ministry of Finance officially took office yesterday after getting sworn-in by Chief Justice Oldiais Ngiraikelau.
These two ministries according to President Surangel Whipps Jr., did not require much re-alignment and were critical for getting the economic recovery process for Palau started.
Ministry of Finance is facing couple of major tasks including implementing the CROSS Act extension which was signed into law on the same day as its minister was sworn-in. It is also tasked with reforms and financial policies designed to ensure Palau’s continued financial stability, particularly in light of mounting debts as result of COVId-19 pandemic.
Ministry of MPIIC that Minister Obichang will once again lead, is expected to have some changes in its structure. One, under the re-alignment plan, it is expected to become Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Industry. Commerce will be removed to “keep this Ministry focused on public infrastructures and on critical public industries such as communication, air and sea transportation and energy” according to proposed “re-alignment” legislation.
The Ministry will also acquire Public Parks and Recreation and Sports Facilities from the now Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs.
Most importantly, the Ministry’s task is getting public infrastructure projects up as part of Palau’s economic recovery plan, not only to put money into the economy but also to provide jobs during this pandemic.
Obichang during the Senate confirmation hearing received 13-0 votes while Kaleb Udui Jr. received 10-3 votes confirming their appointments to these two important offices.

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