Bill pass House and Senate on same day
The collection of Environmental Impact Fee (EIF) now to be known as Palau Pristine Paradise Environmental Fee (PPEF) will be delayed for a year after the Olbiil Era Kelulau passed the measure yesterday.
Congress gave its nod to President Remenegsau version of the bill after it passed last week a version that calls for the repeal of the EIF and instead replacing it with a new fee to be imposed to visiting tourists in Palau as Palau Visitor’s Fee (PVF).
Remengesau did not agree to the repeal but renamed the fee as PPEF which he said “ like its predecessor the EIF, represents the primary financing mechanism for the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (“PNMS”).
The president in his referral letter last week to the lawmakers urged Congress to reconsider their stance on the measure, reiterating that his signature policy- PNMS. “creates a sustainable lifeline for food security, economic security and cultural security, by safeguarding our precious marine environment. Yet, the ultimate success of this endeavor hinges on the collection of the increased fee for travelers.”
The fee will allocate $10 for the Fisheries Protection Trust Fund, $12.50 will be divided among the states, $25 to the National Treasury for purposes related to the security, operation, maintenance, and improvement of the Palau International Airport, $30 for the green fee and $22.50 will revert back to the National Treasury.
In the EIF, a portion of the fee was allocated for the Civil Pension Plan Fund, but in the PPEF civil pension fund source will be from all funds from local revenue or other sources that otherwise would have been appropriated for airport improvement.
Congress has raised concern that any fee to protect the environment or tourism should not go to the pension plan.
The OEK’s passage of Remengesau’s version of the bill has averted implementation of the $100 EIF by April 1 this year.
The president said a repeal of the EIF means the government has failed to honor its commitments to the people. [/restrict]