FSM’s Kosrae state governor appreciates inclusion in peer review

Kosrae, FSM – The state of Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia appreciates inclusion in the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination (Forum Compact) Peer Review process currently underway in the FSM.

The FSM peer review continues the series of peer reviews across the Pacific as part of a review of Forum island countries’ national development planning, budgeting, public financial and aid management processes and systems. FSM is the 9th Forum Island Country to undertake this process.

FSM has also specifically requested that in recognition of the pressing challenges facing the country, the Peer Review Team should also consider the suitability of the existing policy environment for promoting private sector development.

The FSM Peer Review Team consists of Mr Catolino Kijiner from the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Ms Noumea Simi representing the Government of Samoa, Mr Johnson Naviti of the Vanuatu Government and Mr Asif Chida from the UNDP Pacific Centre in Fiji.The team is assisted by staff of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

After consultation with the national government at the capital Palikir, the Peer Review team divided into two groups to visit the four states. One group is visiting Yap and Chuuk and the other group covering Kosrae and Pohnpei states.

At his meeting with peer review team members on 16 November, Kosrae state Governor, Hon. Lyndon Jackson, accompanied by the Acting Speaker of the Kosrae State Legislature, Mr Palikun Shrew and the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Mr Bob Skilling commended the peer review for including the FSM states in its consultations. “We appreciate the extension of the peer review consultation to the states to enable the team to consider the relationship that exists between the four states and the national government of FSM,” said Governor Jackson.

He explained that “FSM is entering a very critical period in its economic development with the money from the Compact of Free Association with the United States ending in 2023 and as a state of FSM, Kosrae must now find ways and means to fill up the gap that will be left in its budget.”

“We look forward to learning from you and exchanging information. Kosrae wants to hear how things have been done in the other countries of the Pacific.”

The peer review team members briefed the Kosrae state leaders on changes that were taking place elsewhere in the Pacific in respect of planning, budgeting and aid management, particularly in small countries such as Nauru, Kiribati and Niue which have hosted peer reviews. They underlined that the key to attracting development assistance that matches a country’s needs is the capacity to set a clear direction for development and implement it with the resources available now; and to understand development partner systems and motivations and develop strategic aid relationships.

Kosrae Governor Jackson informed the peer review team that his government was the first state in FSM to pass the necessary legislation for tax reforms and has established an ODA unit to find other development partners who will be willing to assist in the economic development of his state leading up to 2023.

Governor Jackson also acknowledged the important role that the private state plays in the economic development of Kosrae and his government’s dialogue with the state’s Chamber of Commerce through their inclusion in important government coordinated meetings.

At a separate meeting on 17 November with members of the Kosrae Chamber of Commerce, Chamber President Witson Phillip confirmed to the peer review team the dialogue his members have with the state government.

“The Kosrae state government invites us to the State Leadership meetings and the Chamber has used these opportunities to advocate the interest of it’s members,” said Mr Phillip. He added: “Some of our members have received assistance from the Kosrae state government but we are not directly involved in the discussions in the allocation to the private sector in the state’s budget. We want to be able to discuss with the state government what projects our members want to be included in the state budget.”

With a population of about 5,000 people, Kosrae, a 109 square kilometre island, is the smallest of the four states of FSM. It is the only state without any outer islands. Tofol is the capital of Kosrae state.

ENDS

For media enquiries, contact Mr Johnson Honimae, the Forum Secretariat’s Media Officer on phone: 691 9248325 or email: johnsonh@forumsec.org.fj