Path to independence from COFA funding

I'm curious. Does anyone in here have a plan they think would eventually lead to self-reliance, removing the dependency on COFA funding? I'm interested in near-specific plans [too specific could lead to massive posts] and timelines with milestones to mark/measure progress.



  • I don't see any foreseeable any future in which the cofa states can ever attain economic self reliance. Palau is seems like it is now but on the long run it wont, for every peak there's a steep fall. Unless oil is struct in these states then no.
  • edited December 2017
    Pacific Islands Development Bank, World Bank, Asia Development Bank
  • edited December 2017
    ]ust get the money and run!
  • I believe these speck of islands will forever depend on foreign assistance for survival. The don't have local resources large enough to propel them forward independently unless their vast ocean masses would produce additional means of survival. The present issues with the tuna industry won't be enough to satisfy them islands in future life.
  • that's right kinen, but not wholly if there is real collaboration among and between members of the community and leadership. Will that happen? Can that happen?
  • Looking at the natural dynamics of the islands, next to impossible.
    Maybe in the next life.
  • I imagine that long-term solutions will require as much emotional investment in making the FSM, as a country, work as much as financial investment. I can think of scarcely few Pohnpeians, for example, who call themselves Micronesians first and Pohnpeians second.

    However, financial investments need to occur as well. As humbled as I am by some congressmen representing their constituents--Ferny Perman, for example, strikes me as a man who legitimately cares about the people in his district--there remains much discussion on donations and less discussion on taxation. For example, let's say that I teach three classes per Saturday at Upward Bound, and I make $25 per class. My check is not $75 per week, of course, because I am taxed by the FSM. It ends up being a little over $60 per week that I make. I have no problem paying my taxes, and I consider it a patriotic duty to pay them. However, my contributions to FSM taxes do not come back to Pohnpei State Department of Education in our budget--they come back in the form of Congressman Perman's purchase of 200 laptops for the teachers in his district, which is very nice but does not contribute to sustainable programming.

    I have genuinely profound respect for this particular congressman, and I don't mean to pick on him by any means--but surely if we want to be independent from COFA funding, one of the steps we must take must be to align FSM revenue into FSM programming.
  • good luck Richard! btw tax monies are divided into different departments , for example tax from food items and alcohol etc..will fund health services not (teaching tax?).. If you can tell me where do each state get their funding, then I will support your ideas but it seems like most of us don't know where the Tax monies are we might as well let them deal with the fill in the blanks no need for explaining and don't worry about politics just teach them children well...thank you
  • kinen,

    What does natural dynamics mean?
  • lol, yeah what is that it a process or changes?
  • @RichardAndrewClark, I commend you on bringing up a sensitive topic that pretty much needs to be addressed.

    Yes, the matter of donations is a big issue and one that is rampant through out the FSM. In all seriousness and no offense to any particular congressman, they need to stop pushing out State allocated funds from congress as public projects.

    Only the State Government's should be able to govern these funds. It is only at the State Level that infrastructure and sustainability can be addressed. What Congress is doing has long been considered "Pork Barrel" and for some reason is now considered legitimate practice and procedure.

    It is no wonder Chuuk State wants to secede.
  • It is the Pork Barrel practice that causes some people not to trust the independence movement
  • Yes Sinbad, you are probably right however I also believe it is the inaccessibility of these funds at the state level created the driving force behind this independence movement.
  • Kinen,

    Your reference to the Tuna industry is an interesting one. To be clear, I make no claims to being an expert on that industry. Having said that, it seems to me that the companies that currently dominate it- for the most part foreign companies- are making hand over fist in profits. I could be wrong about that but I doubt it. Being that the stocks are not endless, to me at least, it raises the concern as to whether the stocks will be around long enough for our companies to mature enough, both environmentally and international business-wise, to gain a footing and, preferably, gain dominance, thereby redirecting all the revenue from a handful of very rich foreign owned companies, and their corporate structures abroad, to home grown companies that employee their staff here, with their families shopping in local stores, paying local taxes to local governments. Mind you, I'm not advocating for more aggressive, government owned fisheries company. I'm suggesting the costs of commercial tuna fishing licenses be lowered to the extent that it moves into the realm of possibility for local upstarts. Keep the licensing fees high for foreign owned companies? Yes. Some may see this is preferential treatment, but I feel it is necessary to give local business owners a fighting chance at benefiting from the single largest commodity our waters/lands have to offer before they are strip mined.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is I think there are resources that can be harnessed to propel us closer towards fiscal independence. Leverage taxes on any and all items that can be produced locally, and put funds into growing those industries. I think if we look at history regarding all the prospering nations in the world, they, first and foremost, focused on feeding themselves before they turned their focus to other endeavors.

    I'm going to stop there because, obviously, we could go on and on forever about this without even scratching the surface. In a nutshell though- I think it CAN be done. The question is do we have the right people with the right vision in the places need to get this moving in the direction we need it to go.

  • I don’t know Truth, I was thinking about the natural makeup of the islands. Their sizes, locations, etc.
    xectms, presently I don’t see any efforts/desire with fsm leadership to prepare the islands for eventual local ownership or management of the tuna thing. I think the present leadership may believe that the island govts can not fairwell against the well based big companies that have been in business for some time now.
  • easy! downsize the fsm government and let the states control themselves.
  • That seems to be very elusive biz e.
  • December 8, 2017

    WASHINGTON - Peace Corps announced it is officially phasing out of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Republic of Palau after many years of partnership. The phase out is due to operational and infrastructure challenges in areas ranging from vast geographic distances, medical care and transportation, and recurring staff vacancies.

    Peace Corps will phase out its volunteer operations in FSM, where there are currently 25 volunteers serving in the education sector, by June 30, 2018. This timeline will allow the volunteers to complete their primary assignments through the end of the school year and transfer knowledge to their communities and counterparts. Peace Corps remains fully committed to supporting the volunteers during this time as they complete their service.

    The last class of volunteers departed Palau in July 2017, having completed their assignments.

    Peace Corps is grateful to the people and governments of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau for their partnership and friendship. Since 1966, more than 4,300 volunteers have served in the region of Micronesia, working to address the need for trained men and women in agriculture, education, health, youth development, and community economic development.

    Long after the last volunteer’s departure, the most essential component of these nations’ cooperation with Peace Corps will remain in the fellowship between volunteers and their host families, colleagues, and friends. Returned volunteers' ongoing contributions as informal citizen ambassadors for FSM and Palau will serve as a lasting legacy of mutual collaboration. Many former volunteers have remained in these countries, continuing to contribute in a personal capacity to the development of the region.

    In the Pacific, Peace Corps will continue to operate programs in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
  • @RichardAndrewClark,

    Not to nitpick but, I do have a question regarding ones identification as "Micronesian" or "Pohnpeian/Chuukese/Yapese/Kosraean". I understand the idea of promoting the idea of a common identity, common struggle, common existence, and therefore common interest in progress, however, I am curious as to the context of the comment. From my experiences abroad, by and large, the overwhelming majority of "Micronesians" I encountered did, in fact, identify as "Micronesian" first and, for the most part, only elaborated further if the person inquiring knew of the region and/or pried further. Having said that, given the question of identity is fielded locally, It seems only natural to me that one would answer with greater specificity. I imagine this is driven by the assumption that, yes, we are all "Micronesians" here and the question is most likely of a more specific nature... I know the point is commonality, an acceptance that we are a single people and our future is better served tackling problems together but...I digress. My apologies for the tangent.


    I don't believe the question is whether we should be engaged in matters of government regardless of whether we have intimate knowledge of the tax code or not. I believe this question is, and should always be an emphatic YES. If we are not aware of the tax code, we should be educated on it. If there are gaps in the tax code, the people should have a say in what the tax code should be. After all, the government, in my humble opinion, is not in place to administer us but, instead, in place to perform administrative tasks FOR us. The latter requires our consent and, if we are ignorant regarding the solutions that require our consent, we might have a bigger problem than just tax loopholes. Can this be solved overnight? I don't think anyone has found that magic wand yet but, I believe, it is the direction we have to move in.
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