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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Jan. 8) — The Palau government does not have money to operate, thus all national government employees beginning yesterday will not get paid due to the lack of budget appropriations as a result of a standoff between the Executive Branch and the Olbiil Era Kelulau over the Fiscal Year 2007 budget.

The failure to approve a budget when the continuing resolution lapsed on Dec. 31, 2006 could also mean a shutdown of some government agencies due to lack of funding authorization.

Simultaneous with his veto of the Olbiil Era Kelulau’s version of the FY 2007 financial package on Dec. 31, President Remengesau also issued a memorandum stating that "due to lack of Budget Authority in place, the national government will not be funded beginning Jan.1, 2007. This is an unfortunate and regrettable circumstance that I am working to solve in accordance with our values and principles."

In the president’s memorandum, he requested government employees to work on a voluntary basis until a new budget is passed.

"Please make clear to everyone that there is no money to pay them for this work and that the decision to work is theirs," Remengesau said.

Presidential Chief of Staff Billy Kuartei explained the government has no authority to spend money because of the lack of budget authority in place.

The president in his veto message to the OEK said he is confident that government workers will continue to perform their jobs despite the uncertainty in the compensation.

"They will do so out of a sense of duty to the people and to the national and in line with the cultural and traditional values," Remengesau said.

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