Pristine Paradise Environmental Fee (PPEF) will now be the name of the fee to be collected from visitors to Palau, which will be implemented upon promulgation of rules and regulation. President Remengesau signs into law on Wednesday amendments to the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) especially the portion on the policy’s funding mechanism. [restrict]
The PPEF replaces the Environmental Impact Fee (EIF) and also removes the timeline when collection of the fee starts. Previous discussion on the matter suggested that the collection at least be delayed for a year.
But the PPEF however will be collected when the Ministry of Finance has drafted the regulation.
“It could be within three months,” Remengesau said when asked to expound on the timeline.
He also said that the Minister of Finance is working at an easy process to collect the fee which is incorporating it in airline tickets of visitors. This process he said will also be less burdensome on tourists having to pay upon departure.
The fee will cost $100, a $50 increase from the current fee.
From the $100 to be collected, $10 will go to 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 no longer be fees collected from tourists, instead all funds from local revenue or other sources that otherwise would have been appropriated for airport improvement.
Sen. Rukebai Inabo said that PPEF is more favorable than an earlier proposed funding mechanism called Palau Visitors Fee (PVF).
“I am more favorable of PPEF than PVF since President Remengesau reinstated distribution of the $50 to mirror original EIF allocation (except for $25 to airport and then airport to Civil Service Pension Plan (CSPP). Still $25 will indirectly go to support CSPP,” Inabo said in an email.
Although she would have preferred that the fee is collected starting April 1, as mandated by the previous law to ensure that the government will not lose much needed revenues to fund PNMS.
“Inherent volatility of Tourism market makes it extremely risky to rely on Tourism sector only as the main source of our economic income; consequently, it is important to collect enough to cover current operations of the Government plus extra to put in savings and would be available to carry us when Tourism drops. Ultimately, we cannot afford the delay but as of now it is what we have to live with so I am just hoping for a more stable tourism market for rest of this year and next year,” Inabo stated.