Interior provides Palau $5.4M under Compact, other grants

Interior provides Palau $5.4M under Compact, other grants

Category: Pacific/Regional News 27 Jul 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) — Interior Acting Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula made available $5,463,578 to the Republic of Palau, most of which is the balance of remaining Compact grant assistance for fiscal year 2017.
Approximately $400,000 is provided through the technical and maintenance assistance programs in the Office of Insular Affairs to help update land surveying and mapping capabilities at the Palau Bureau of Lands and Survey and maintenance training at Palau Community College for the next three years.

“We are honored to provide assistance to Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr., on behalf of the U.S. under the Compact of Free Association,” said Pula. “Furthermore, we are pleased to support proper land planning and management, as well as training in maintenance and infrastructure-upkeep. Both are critical to Palau as an island nation.”

• Bureau of Lands and Survey will receive $324,268 to upgrade systems, equipment, instruments, and computers and modernize the existing Land Information System. The Bureau of Lands and Surveys provides logistical support to the Palau Land Court, Public Lands Authority and their relevant counterparts in all 16 states. Funds will help improve capabilities for conducting land surveys in Palau and provide for digitization of records dating back to the Japanese administration prior to World War II. All improvements will strengthen an important public service and aid leaders in planning and decision-making for efficient land-use management and protection.

• Palau Community College will receive $75,000 to provide three years of maintenance and infrastructure-upkeep training at Palau Community College, Palau’s only post-secondary educational institution. The goal is to meet technical and maintenance needs throughout the island nation and to promote local capacity building in infrastructure and public utility services.

• The Palau government will receive $5,064,310, which brings the total FY 2017 Compact grant payment to Palau of $13,147,000. The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (U.S. Public Law No. 111-88 Sec.122) and subsequent discretionary appropriations acts have continued to extend economic assistance to Palau within OIA current budget authority since the financial assistance provisions of the U.S.-Palau Compact (U.S. Public Law 99-658) expired in 2009. Funds are provided to assist the government of Palau in its efforts to advance the well-being of the people of Palau and in recognition of the special relationship that exists between the United States and Palau. The U.S. and Palau signed a Palau Compact Review Agreement in 2010, which proposed continued financial assistance through 2024 and is still awaiting approval by the U.S. Congress.

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All these funds will be spent on worthy projects. Yes, the issue of lands in all our regions need to be well documented and properly installed in databases to provide proper manage of our lands, which is always a high agenda for all. I am certain the other nations feel the same way too about their lands, public and private. nd I give praises in anything involving education. From maintenance, to instruction upgrades, staff and student's development, etc.

Overall, this is a sign of good faith between both nations, strengthening their commitment to one another in our region. A big thank you to those who worked hard to represent us as a nation making this possible.

Comments

  • All 3 COFA nations depend on funds from Compact agreements. My hope is that US economy in the future will grow around 3 or 4%; so that the deficit and US debts will begin to be decreased.

    When the US government has a lot of excess money in its coffers, it would allow Congressmen and Senators to have more freedom in appropriating funds for projects, not only in their states, but all over the world. This is how it was before the "sequestration" had to be put in place, several years ago, in order to minimize budget deficit.

    As a result, the military was cut; and the Congress put in a requirement that for any new appropriation, it should identify or deduct the same from clearly identified line items in the budget. This is why the Palau's Compact money could not be appropriated by the Congress; because it would have been de-appropriated from other funds.

    So for the short term solution, the Obama administration directed the Department of Interior to provide the funds--from its budget-- to Palau in the amount that was approved for in the Compact. So Palau has been treated the same as interior agency; it has not been treated as if it's not an independent country which should be under the Department of State.

    Now, if the US economy picks up and more money comes to the US government, I believe the "sequestration" will be removed; that more funding will be allowed for appropriation by Congress. I am hoping for this scenario because the current Compacts' financial provisions are expiring by 2023. I hope that if the US economy's growth were to bring a lot of money to the US Government, it will be easier for the Congress to consider any request that the COFA nations might put forth prior to 2023. Just a wish.

  • Thank you Trump for this great news.
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