The supplemental budget is being referred back to Olbiil er Kelulau (OEK) with a couple of amendments that President Remengesau said in his referral letter are “small technical and organizational changes to better conform” to existing laws.
Within PD1 version of the bill, it amends the language of the General Reserve Fund to allow for its use to “offset any local revenue shortfall related to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”
It added a new section appropriating $6 million dollars to offset shortfall in local revenue funding due to impact of coronavirus.
In the referral letter to both Senate President Hokkons Baules and House Speaker Sabino Anastacio, President Remengesau said “you have appropriated $916,808 to the Hospital Trust Fund for coronavirus prevention and preparation efforts. Second you have appropriated $6 million in reserve funds to compensate for expected revenue losses due to the international travel restrictions. These appropriations show how seriously you take this global challenge.”
In light of the expected impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Palau’s economy and the cost of preparations against the virus, the proposed supplemental budget has sought to utilize the Reserve Fund solely to replace potential revenue loss due to coronavirus pandemic. Only few expense items were removed from the budget such as funding for Saipan community bai. Increases were made to State block grants and House budget. Funding for one-time events such FESTPAC and Mechesil Belau Conference remained in the budget for FY 2020.
This supplemental budget if passed, Palau’s FY 2020 Unified Budget will authorize little over $101 million and appropriate little over $100 million for this fiscal year.