Mid-year JEMCO held in Chuuk
- Category: News
- Published: Friday, 17 May 2019 05:17
- Written by Bill Jaynes
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FSM Information Services
WENO, Chuuk—On March 19th, 2019, the Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) convened its Mid-Year meeting which was held, for the first time in the era of the amended Compact of Free Association (COFA), in Chuuk State. Among other duties, JEMCO is responsible for the review of development plans and other planning and budget documents of the State Governments of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), including monitoring progress made towards sustainable economic development and budgetary self-reliance. Per the terms of the COFA, JEMCO also consults with providers of United States Government Federal Grants, including the review and evaluation of grant allocations and their related objectives. Comprised of five members total, of which the FSM has two, representing the FSM were the Honorable Lorin S. Robert, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Vice Chairman of JEMCO, and Mr. Leo A. Falcam, Jr., Chief of Staff to His Excellency Peter M. Christian, President of the FSM. Representing the United States were Mr. Nikolao Pula, Director of the U.S. Office of Insular Affairs and Chairman of JEMCO, Mr. Nicholas Dean, Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Affairs, Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, and Mr. William Gallo, Associate Director of the Office of State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support Office of the Centers Disease Control and Prevention.
The agenda for JEMCO’s discussion included policy items surrounding effective grant administration, initiatives for improvements in education and health data and performance indicator management, further advancements on the establishment of the FSM infrastructure management institutions, and progress on infrastructure project implementation.
The FSM submitted for JEMCO‘s consideration an allocation of $2,118,213 for two health sector projects; the funding was received in its entirety via JEMCO Resolution 2019-11. $1,618,213 will be dedicated for the FSM’s response to the urgent need for mass screening, and related treatments, of tuberculosis cases in the islands of Weno, Tol, and Polle in Chuuk State. The remaining $500,000 is allocated for funding the FSM Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Project, whose purpose is to improve both the management of health data, as well as the reporting thereof, and support informed decision-making in areas ranging from the prioritization of healthcare funding to the diagnosing and treatment of the Nation’s citizens.
Other discussions in the Mid-Year meeting included an update on the progress of the FSM’s public sector infrastructure program. It is projected that the FSM may see eight major infrastructure projects, worth nearly $44,500,000 combined, begin construction by November, 2019. An additional fifteen projects, worth nearly $53,400,000 combined, may begin construction by November, 2020.
Among the remaining discussions included amplifying information on the improvements to the ongoing electric power crisis in Pohnpei State. COFA assistance was allocated in August, 2018, to support the overhaul of two generator sets ($828,220) and installation of cash-meters ($500,000). It is expected that the generator sets will be fully operational in July, 2019. For longer-term solutions, JEMCO expressed its willingness to support reforms efforts focusing on the management and operations of Pohnpei State’s public utilities.
Chairman Pula noted at the conclusion of the JEMCO that the outcomes were very positive, and noted his satisfaction on the update briefings and the progress indicated in each sector. In a cabinet meeting on March 21st, 2019, Secretary Robert said “It was indeed a very successful visit, a very successful JEMCO….”