PALAU GOVERNMENT APPROVES $59 MILLION BUDGET

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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Dec. 6) – Palau President Tommy Remengesau signed into law the financial package of US$59.4 million for fiscal year 2008 government budget.

The measure was signed at 12:45 a.m. on Sunday at the Palau International Airport prior to the president’s trip to Japan.

The continuing resolution lapsed on Nov. 30 but a budget was put in place on early morning of Dec. 2.

The government had no budget in place for over a day because of the failure to come up with a budget on time.

The new budget restored cuts earlier proposed by the lawmakers on the Executive Branch.

President Remengesau said he is happy that a budget has been finally approved after the government had to operate on a continuing resolution for two months.

An amount of US$33,686,286 is authorized for the appropriation and is appropriated foe expenditure and obligation for fiscal year 2008 that will cover the operational and contingent expense of the Executive Branch.

Congress also restored the proposed cuts on the Executive Branch and instead only made a 2.5 percent overall reduction.

The Judiciary branch and the Palau Community College also agreed to a cut on its budget of 2.5 percent.

A budget of US$2,219,000 is appropriated for the judicial branch while the Legislative branch will get US$3,598,000 budget.

The states meanwhile will get a total of US$4,811,000.

An amount of US$2,982,558 meanwhile is appropriated for debt service for payment of the US$20 million loan for the completion of Phase II of the National Capitol Construction project and the US$8 million loan agreement for the improvement of the Palau International Airport.

The Olbiil Era Kelulau meanwhile agreed to a cut of 7.5 percent to its own budget, which is greater than any other branch of government.

The cut is made for cost saving measures.

The sum of US$800,000 was also appropriated for the renegotiation of the Compact of Free Association with the United States in 2009.

The president said that Congress has also agreed to discuss a supplemental budget to address the remaining budget needs of the country.

He said that the House and Senate leaders should be lauded for breaking the budget deadlock and coming up with a budget to prevent a government shutdown.

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