Ways and Means Committee meets in Palikir

PALIKIR, POHNPEI. August 8, 2014 – The Committee on Ways and Means is in Palikir this week for a series of public hearings and oversight on matters still pending before the Committee prior to the upcoming Regular Session of the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia scheduled for September.
Following Monday morning’s Executive Committee meeting, Chairman Isaac V. Figir called in the various departments and agencies of the national government in the afternoon to begin the Committee on Ways and Means series of public hearings to address outstanding issues ranging from climate change legislation and its implementation to tax reform.
Monday afternoon’s line-up of issues included:
  • the President’s recent Report on the Audit of Public Debts for fiscal year 2012;
  • the proposed use of the World Bank’s 16th International Development Association or IDA-16 Funds, originally slated for the FSM Telecommunications; and
  • an overview of the Trust Fund Investments, a review of the Funds’ balance, and the new investment advisor.
Tuesday’s line-up of public hearing included:
  • the Climate Change legislation and its implementation and progress to date by all relevant parties;
  • the overrun of Public Projects along with the revised format for the Project Control Document(PCD) and its proposed improvements especially in line with Congressional Bill (CB) 18-201which requires that any revision to the existing PCDs to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act; and
  • a review of the government’s current foreign assistance procedures, along with an update on the status of US Federal Programs and Assistance.
On Wednesday, the Committee focused mainly on the issue of tax in the following areas:
  • CB 18-21, the distribution of tax revenue in the state sub-accounts and any implementation concerns 
  • CB 18-22 & CB 18-115, the proposed qualified exemption from the Gross Revenue Tax;
  • CB 18-165, the taxation of foreign corporation branch offices in the FSM and its effect on the current tax scheme; and
  • Finally the Committee concluded its discussions with the issue of tax reform, its collection and its enforcement.
The issue of taxation and its implementation concluded the series of public hearings the Committee on Ways and Means held in Palikir with representative from the Office of the President, Secretary of the Dept. Finance and Administration and relevant staff, Secretary of Dept. of Foreign Affairs and relevant staff, representatives from the Dept. of Justice and from the Office of SBOC (Statistics, Economic and Budget Management, Overseas Development Assistance and Compact Management).
Along with Chairman Figir, member of the Committee on Ways and Means included: Senator Yosiwo P. George, Senator Tony H. Otto and Senator Joseph J. Urusemal along with staff attorneys Yancy Cottrill, Catherine Allen, Alik Jackson and John Nowakoswki.