FSM government approves economic stimulus package

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FSM President David Panuelo and Speaker of the 21st FSM Congress Wesley W. Simina (From the Office of the FSM President)

FSM President David W. Panuelo has signed Public Law 21-105, which temporarily diverts funding from fishing access fees and from revenue derived from major corporations to the nation’s $15 million economic stimulus package.

The FSM government began working on the economic stimulus package in March in response to the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FSM stimulus package represents the single largest economic stimulus in the nation’s nearly 41 years of Constitutional Government.

According to the FSM Office of the President, the stimulus package is presently focused on boosting the tourism sector. The public law allows the national government to process wage subsidies, debt relief, and gross revenue tax and social security tax rebates for affected businesses in the FSM.

A separate direct payment program will be offered to those who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis. According to the FSM National Government, the U.S. Department of Labor and the FSM Department of Finance & Administration (DOFA) are working together to provide support under the FSM Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.

The funding for the package includes a $1.5 million allotment from the FSM’s Tourism Sector Mitigation Fund and $3 million of financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The national government also proposed appropriating $2 million from the FY 2021 budget to the package.

“The intention of the Economic Stimulus Package is to ensure the continued prosperity of the Nation and its citizens during these unprecedented times,” Panuelo said in a statement. “I give credit to Speaker Simina and the Members of the 21st FSM Congress for their collaborative spirit on this Package, and for their enthusiastic dedication towards serving the needs of our Nation’s citizens. I also acknowledge the significant and timely delivery of financial assistance from the [ADB] to support the Nation’s Economic Stimulus Package.”

Business owners in the FSM are encouraged to obtain the Wage Subsidy Assistance application form by visiting DOFA website’s page: http://www.dofa.gov.fm/support-to-businesses/

“One of the key priorities for the Government,” Panuelo said in a statement, “is to keep businesses open and our people gainfully employed. The COVID-19 Pandemic is a threat to be taken seriously, but it can be overcome so long as we continue to work together with decision-making across the Nation reflecting the needs of our citizens, for all Micronesians whether they hail from Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, or Kosrae are one together.”