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PALAU’S TORIBIONG BUSTS EXPENSE BUDGET President cites travel, hosting events

By Bernadette H. Carreon KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Aug. 11, 2010) - Despite pronouncement of belt-tightening, President Johnson Toribiong already spent more than 100 percent of his budget for Fiscal Year 2010 according to the third quarter financial report of the Palauan government.

For the third quarter of the Fiscal Year, government agencies in order to stay within their budget should record at least 75 percent spending.

Toribiong in an interview justified the "overspending" as necessary. He said that the budget were spent mostly on travels and hosting of regional and international events.

"I am not having a picnic here. I am working hard," Toribiong stated.

Based on the financial report documents, the president’s office have a budget of US$689,589 and from that amount he already obligated 109. 8 percent of his budget.

The president would have only spent US$517,191.75 if he had stayed within the 75 percent but as of June 30, 2010, it showed that he already "overspent" US$240,262.25.

"I bring in millions of dollars to Palau travelling than staying home," Toribiong said.

"If I do not travel we will not have any money, because there is no money here in Palau," the president said.

Palau which relies mostly on donors, the president said foreign diplomatic relationships are very important.

He said Congress should be willing to accommodate the president’s office by giving him more budget.

The financial report also showed that the government on collected 69 percent of its projected local revenues which could result to at least US$2 million shortfall for FY2010.

The deficit is expected to delayed payments to the vendors unless the government can collect 30 percent of the projected revenues by the last quarter of the fiscal year.

As of June 30, the government has only collected US$25,484,409 local revenues and the target amount is US$37,009,000.

The government needs to collect US$11,524,591 by the end of the fiscal year in order to avoid accumulated deficit.

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