JEMCO Members with Assistant Secretary Domenech and Ambassador Riley and Ambassador Susaia. Photo courtesy of FSMIS
Honolulu — The Federated States of Micronesia will receive $56.69 million in Compact grants for fiscal 2020.
According to FSM Information Service, the grant was approved by the Joint Economic Management Committee through a resolution adopted during a meeting in Honolulu on Sept. 4.
JEMCO further authorized use of Public Infrastructure Sector assistance for a number of infrastructure projects for FY2020, including: ADB Water Project Matching, Kosrae Project Management Office Rehabilitation, Yap Catholic High School Science and Library Supplements, Designs for the Lelu Causeway Emergency Repairs, and the College of Micronesia-FSM’s campus in Chuuk State.
The meeting provided FSM the opportunity to present to JEMCO updates on the sectors of education, health and infrastructure, highlighting the sector accomplishments for FY2019, noting the challenges encountered and outlining plans going forward.
In his remarks, JEMCO Chairman Nikolao Pula acknowledged that “we have come a long way,” addressing the magnitude of issues tackled in the era of the Compact of Free Association (COFA), as amended, and appreciating the progress realized today. Among these are the establishment of sector management information systems for education and health, some of which are the first to be implemented anywhere in the Pacific, and which are key in informing sound policy decisions.
JEMCO expressed its appreciation for the progress in the infrastructure sector, noting that professional project management capacity is established in the FSM States and National Government, a positive step toward advancing on the backlog of Compact infrastructure grants.
The FSM is expected to make headway in its infrastructure grants with $58 million in projects to start construction between January 2020 and June/ 2020.
JEMCO is the oversight committee created by the amended COFA between the FSM and the United States.
On Sept. 6, the Trust Fund Committee of the Trust Fund for the People of the Federated States of Micronesia conducted its fiscal year 2019 fourth quarter meeting.
The meeting covered the Fund’s investment performance for the April-June quarter as well as an update to the end of July. The meeting also included an education session.
For the April-June quarter, the Fund gained 3.2 percent, net of fees, and had an ending net asset value of $684.4 milion (preliminary and unaudited).
The increase was due to gains across all asset classes, particularly in U.S. and global public equity asset strategies, the fixed income asset strategy, and the private equity asset strategy.
For July, the Fund gained 0.2 percent, net of fees, ending with a net asset value of $685.8 million (preliminary and unaudited). For the fiscal year-to-date (Oct. 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019) the Fund has gained 2.7 percent, net of fees.
The Committee approved a fiscal year 2020 operating budget and a service agreement with Bookminders for accounting services for a one-year period.
Trust Fund Committee members acknowledged the potential for the historic meeting of the three freely associated states Presidents with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in May and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the Federated States of Micronesia in August may impact the Fund.
The Committee discussed future Fund issues to include clarifying roles and responsibilities of the Trust Fund Committee and Original Party governments (United States and Federated States of Micronesia governments). They also discussed distribution policy, payment of expenses after Sept. 30, 2022, timing of distributions, and the accountability framework for future distributed funds.
The education session also included presentations and discussions on investment fee reporting, and Investment Adviser and Committee roles and responsibilities for Money Manager identification, selection, and monitoring.
Office of Insular Affairs Director Nik Pula of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) chaired the meeting. The other U.S. Members were Suzanne Lawrence of State and Phil Maestri of Education. The FSM members were Sihna Lawrence and Alex Narruhn. Doug Domenech, DOI Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, attended the meeting.
The next quarterly meeting will take place by teleconference in November or December 2019. (FSMIS, DOI)