Feb 25, 2009

Toribiong introduces FY2009 budget of $58.8 M

KOROR (Palau Horizon) – President Johnson Toribiong introduced a Fiscal Year 2009 budget of $60,287,987 but only appropriate $58,787,987.

Toribiong signed the bill Saturday night hours before he leaves for Taiwan for his first state visit.

Toribiong said to ensure the immediate needs of the country for the remainder of 2009 fiscal year, a unified budget must be in place and the proposal is aimed at maintaining the fund levels similar to the 2008 budget.

He said his administration is committed on expending only those funds made to the local treasury from local revenue collections until the Compact review with the United States have been completed.

He said that he will ensure a reduction in government spending because of the current economic climate locally and is hopeful that Congress will also contribute in passing legislation that will generate new revenues.

Remaining obligations he said can be addressed through a supplemental budget and in the 2010 budget.

The bill proposed appropriations of $34,104,286 for the operational and contingent expenses of the Executive Branch, while the Judicial Branch gets appropriation of $2,219,000 while the legislative branch gets $3,668,000.

The bill also stated that the remaining balance in the amount of $2,380,431 of the Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) be reverted back to the National Treasury to defray the shortfall for FY 2009 local allocations.

The bill also proposed appropriations of $2,782,558 to debt service; $1,546,000 to low-income household assistance; $500,000 for Compact Review fund, to finance the conduct of review and discussions regarding the Compact.

Palau is operating on a continuing budget authority for the first four months.

Toribiong said Vice President and Finance Minister Kerai Maruir worked hard on the budget bill to ensure that it is achievable and realistic.

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