More than 2,000 households in Chuuk will receive temporary cash assistance in the next two weeks through the Federated States of Micronesia government’s low-income assistance program launched in Weno this week. According to FSM President David Panuelo’s office, the government anticipates distributing $4 million to eligible FSM citizens residing in Chuuk. The stimulus program has been launched in three other states earlier this month. Panuelo’s low-income assistance program is funded through a $14-million grant from the Asian Development Bank. Of the $14 million, $7 million is allocated for assisting zero-income and low-income households, with the intention to provide temporary cash relief for households outside of the formal labor sector, such as subsistence farmers and fishermen, and specifically such laborers who do not qualify for the pandemic unemployment assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. Pohnpei launched the low-income assistance program on June 8, followed by Kosrae on June 14, and Yap on June 17. Panuelo said the program is a key component of the nation’s larger social protection infrastructure.
The president visited Chuuk June 22 to launch the program. He was joined by Chuuk Gov. Alexander R. Narruhn, Chuuk State House Speaker Lester “Danny” Mersai, Chuuk Senate Vice President Wisney Nakayama and Bishop Julio Angkel. According to Panuelo’s office, program implementation was planned by the Department of Finance & Administration along with the mayors and municipal-level Covid task forces. “With over 16,000 applications received so far, the FSM national government is prioritizing households with zero recordable income before moving to households with minimal income,” according to a press release from the FSM Information Service.