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By Nazario Rodriguez Jr.

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, May 1) — The Palau economy grew by 5.4 percent in 2005, according to the 11th Annual Report on the Republic of Palau’s Implementation of the Compact of Free Association.

The report was submitted last week to the national legislature, the Olbiil Era Kelulau, by Minister of Finance Elbuchel Sadang.

This is lower by 0.7 percent compared to the 2004 figure of 6.1 percent growth rate. However, the new figure still indicates a strong performance of the country’s economy in the last two years.

The 2005 report stated that the strong growth is attributed to sustained increases in visitor arrivals and expanded construction activity fueled by public sector spending.

The data included the real gross domestic product growth rate for the last six years: 2000 (1.9); 2001 (1.4); 2002 (-5.7); 2003 (0.6); 2004 (6.1); and 2005 (5.4).

The 2005 figures per sector include public administration (US$33,077,000); trade ($28,840,000); construction ($22,105,000); hotels and restaurants ($15,328,000); transport and communication ($12,476,000); real estate and business service ($5,935,000) finance and insurance ($4,960,000); electricity, gas and water ($4,582,000); fisheries ($2,928,000); agriculture ($1,606,000); manufacturing ($547,000); mining and quarrying ($249,000); and other services ($10,588,000).

The nominal GDP totaled $144,665,000 including import duties of $4,335,000.

The report provides information on current trends and issues relating to population, housing, health, education, the economy, labor, industry, trade, grant assistance, energy, communication, transportation weather, infrastructure, government planning and strategy.

The report is required by the Compact of Free Association between Palau and the United States, providing the basis for reviewing the accountability of the local government’s use of Compact funds and to review the economic progress made through its implementation.

The report shows the impact of funding assistance under the Compact and the performance of Palau toward achieving established economic objectives.

The report noted that Palau continues its ongoing efforts to implement a series of short and medium-term development plans that have been adapted to provide strategic roadmaps and policy guidelines for the government’s economic development.

The two primary planning documents guiding Palau’s efforts are the National Master Development Plan and the Study for Promotion of Economic Development in the Republic of Palau, which is also known as the "JICA Report."

The 2005 report noted that the recent national leadership symposium was aimed at developing a consensus on national priorities and appropriate economic and fiscal strategy actions for the next three years.

This will serve as the basis for updating the master action plan and the public sector investment program.

May 1, 2006

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