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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (November 17, 2000 – Marshall Islands Journal)---The greatest impediment to development in the Marshall Islands is the "massive, endemic corruption in government," the Chamber of Commerce has told government and Asian Development Bank officials in response to a draft ADB report on the RMI economy.

Reporting to last week’s Chamber meeting at RRE (Robert Reimers Enterprises), businessman Jerry Kramer said that while the Chamber believes the ADB report is a "good start," it wasn’t thorough enough in certain areas and did not adequately address the pervasive corruption problem.

In response to the government’s request for comments on the draft "Meto2000" economic report the Chamber also said:

· the government needs to implement tax enforcement and collection efforts before it considers raising taxes.

· some of the recommendations are "generic" to the region and not specific to the Marshalls.

· many of the community/private sector recommendations regarding needed government reform from the first National Economic and Social Summit were never carried out by government. There is a need to correct deficiencies and mismanagement in government.

"It’s a valuable document," Kramer said of the report, while adding that it reviewed some problems in great detail, but on others it only skimmed the surface.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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