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PALIKIR, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (August 23, 2000 – FSM Information Service)---The push for more transparency seemed to be the basic theme delivered by the national government to the more than 50 financial and budget officers gathered today during the 2000 Annual Finance and Budget Conference’s morning session.

FSM Secretary of Finance and Administration John Ehsa answered questions pertaining to various financial matters, and pushed for more accurate and timely reporting from the states in several areas, particularly in regard to reports required by law from Congress.

Ehsa explained that the Congress needed to have a better understanding of the exact status of certain projects to better evaluate the state’s needs in finishing these projects.

He added that better reporting gives better transparency to what is actually happening with the project money.

Ehsa also suggested and received a consensus to rename and re-focus the scope of the Micronesia Islands Computer Association to a finance officers association.

He explained that the original intent of MICA was to purchase computers, hardware, and software to meet the needs of the states and national financial offices. This need has been satisfied; now the scope needs to be expanded, said Ehsa.

Ehsa, who has just returned from Chicago, Illinois, where he attended a meeting of financial officers from throughout the United States, its insular territories and free association countries and Canada, said that the American insular territories, and the FSM, the Marshalls, and Palau have formed an association to better meet their needs.

Ehsa has suggested that the FSM national government, the four state governments, and all autonomous agencies form a similar organization, also. He pointed out that such an organization would enable these governments and agencies to receive more training and to re-scope the focus of MICA.

Forming such an organization "can spread the wealth of knowledge," said Ehsa.

Ehsa also got the nod to pursue a major hardware change from a 32-bit capacity to a 64 bit and to begin developing ideas and policy for a web site.

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