May 31, 2010

By FSM Information Services
The Kaselehlie Press

May 13, 2010 Palikir, Pohnpei - On May 13, 2010, President Mori stood before Congress and gave his third State of the Nation Address. In attendance were Vice President Alik, all members of the 16th FSM Congress, Associate Justice Yamase, members of the Diplomatic Community, Cabinet Members, employees of the National Government and the public. The speech was broadcast live over national radio and will be released on public television.

After welcoming all those in attendance, President Mori began his speech by acknowledging that the nation is still recovering from the global financial crisis, but stated "the worst of the tempest is over" and reported that a bright forecast has been is-sued by the Asian Development Bank.

In the same vein, President Mori voiced "cautious optimism" about the Nation's future, citing promising signs of recovery over the past five years, including the reduced trade deficit, a balanced current account and increased national disposable income. The President warned, however, that the Com-pact has fueled consumption rather than investment and stressed the crucial need to invest in development to build a self-reliant economy, based on the private sector.

The establishment of a strong private sector will allow the financing of the public sector, the President explained, adding that the nation cannot solely rely on the under funded Compact Trust Fund. President Mori mentioned that the Administration will summon state leaders, business people and international partners to the National Economic Symposium to discuss such private sector development.

The President thanked Congress for approving $9.2 million for design work and implementation of nearly $150 million worth of projects across the Nation; in addition, President Mori highlighted that gracious funding from the US, Japan and the People's Republic of China, has enabled the completion of AARF buildings in Yap and Kosrae, the mobilization of materials for the Pohnpei airport runway expansion, the start of road reconstruction in Chuuk, the building of new schools in Kosrae and Pohnpei, and the renovations at the Yap Childhood Center and hospital. These new projects should generate $7 million in tax revenues and 2,500 jobs.

The President congratulated FSM Telecom for connecting Pohnpei State to the submarine fiber optic cable, and reiterated that connecting the remaining three states is a priority for his Administration. He then took the opportunity to outline economically promising private and public industries for our nation, including the Guam market, tourism, the Captive Insurance Regime and plans for an International Open Ship Registry. All, signifi cant sources of future revenue available to offset the needs of Social Security, MiCare and other non-Compact Trust Fund programs.

Next, President Mori urged Congress and the state legislatures to modernize the tax code with a code to include Value-Added Tax, Net Profits Tax and a revamped salary tax; and to establish a single National tax agency. He added that his Administration is proposing two major Constitutional Amendments: dual citizenship and four-year terms for all members of Congress. The President also suggested lowering the threshold to pass constitutional amendments from 75% to a simple majority.

With his objective of national economic growth, the President renewed his commitment to invest in teacher training, and in information and communication technologies to ensure the development of the nation's education system. The President outlined that the modernization of the Nation's medical facilities is also crucial to avoid the need for citizens to seek healthcare overseas.

President Mori extended his heart-felt gratitude to the Nation's youths enlisted in the United States Armed Forces, stating "the sacrifices that our young people have made in the mutual defense of [the United States and our Nation] in support of world peace can never be over emphasized."

With the impact of climate change on all Pacific Islands, the President expressed the need to continue fighting for international initiatives to lower green house gasses and decrease reliance on oil. He called on the FSM to attain "at least 20% […] of total power generation from renewable energy sources by 2020," stating this alone will trim $6 million per year from our energy bill.

President Mori concluded by proclaiming "now is the time for development," with "real sustainable growth;" and he called on all leaders and the nation as a whole to act in cooperation to achieve economic independence.

For a complete version of the President's State of the Nation Address, please go to state_of_the_federation_10.html