FSM announces $14M Covid-19 assistance package

FSM President David Panuelo shakes hands with Finance Secretary Eugene Amor after announcing the government's new Covid-19 aid package for low-income citizens. Photo courtesy of FSMIS

Approximately 4,500 low-income households in the Federated States of Micronesia stand to receive $1,000 each in temporary cash relief under the government’s $14 million Covid-19 assistance package consisting of different social programs, the Office of the President announced this week.

The FSM government said the one-time cash relief, totaling $6 million, will be distributed in January 2021 to households outside of the formal labor sector, such as farmers and fishermen, as well as laborers who do not qualify for the U.S.-funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The cash relief is among the new social protection programs designed to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that prompted FSM to close its borders.

“These social protection programs will help mitigate the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our most vulnerable citizens, by decreasing familial poverty, increasing food security, and helping our stranded citizens abroad," FSM President David Panuelo said.

The programs are mainly funded by Asian Development Bank through a grant agreement signed by FSM Finance Secretary Eugene Amor on Nov. 25.

The food security program for community groups and low-income households is another component of the program that seeks to provide subsistence livelihood training, and an equitable distribution of seeds, planting, and fishing materials, to vulnerable citizens at no cost.