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«Compacts of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands For Fiscal Year 2005 Table of Contents ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Report to the Congress

on the

Compacts of Free Association


the Federated States of Micronesia

and the Republic of the Marshall Islands

For Fiscal Year 2005

Table of Contents

Introduction ……………………………………………………………….. 3

A) General Social, Political and Economic Conditions …………………….. 3

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM): Background ……………….. 4 Economic and Financial Review of the FSM ……………….. 6 Economic Reviews of the States of the FSM ……………….. 10 Prospects for Private Sector and Economic Growth ……………….. 10 Prospects for Growth in Tourism ……………………………….. 12 Migration from the Freely Associated States ……………………….. 13 Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI): Background ……………….. 14 Blending Democratic Institutions with Tradition ……………….. 16 Economic and Financial Review ……………………………….. 17 Economic and Financial Outlook ……………………………….. 20

B) Use and Effectiveness of United States Financial, Program and Technical Assistance Funds ……………………………………………………….. 22 Compact Sector Grants ……………………………………….. 22 Fiscal year 2005 Sector Allocations for the FSM and Uses.. 24 Fiscal Year 2005 Allocations for the RMI and Uses ……….. 30 Ebeye Special Needs ……………………………….. 40 Introduction The United States entered into a Compact of Free Association (Compact) with the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in

1986. The purpose of the Compact was to establish close and mutually beneficial relationships between the United States and the FSM, and between the United States and the RMI as they emerged from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and became sovereign states.

The Compact was made a part of and approved in Public Law 99-239. The Compact set out mutual obligations with regard to governmental, economic, security and defense relationships. One part of the Compact dealt with economic support provided the FSM and the RMI by the United States. Between fiscal years 1986 and 2003, the last year of funding under the Compact’s original terms, the FSM and the RMI received approximately $1.5 billion and $1 billion, respectively, from the United States. The funds were used for general government operations, including health and education, economic development, capital improvements, and special purposes.

Some of the provisions of the original, 1986 Compact, including the economic assistance provisions, were to expire in 15 years. The Compact provided that, starting in 1999, the parties were to enter into negotiations regarding these expiring provisions. These negotiations culminated in separate amended Compacts with the FSM and the RMI, which were made a part of and approved in Public Law 108-188, the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003. The amended Compacts provide United States support for a 20-year period that began in fiscal year 2004. The FSM will receive approximately $2.1 billion and the RMI $1.5 billion during that period, including large annual and increasing contributions to trust funds designed to provide an annual source of revenue when the annual United States assistance terminates at the end of fiscal year

2023. Through fiscal year 2023, United States assistance will be for grants in the sectors of education, health care, private sector development, the environment, public sector capacity building, and public infrastructure, with priorities in the education and health care sectors.

The amended Compacts created new accountability requirements for the use and reporting of United States’ assistance. One of the requirements of Public Law 108-188 is this report.

(A) General Social, Political, and Economic Conditions:

Section 104(h) of Public Law 108-188 requires the President of the United States to report on general social, political, and economic conditions in the FSM and the RMI, including, among other things, estimates of economic growth, per capita income, and migration rates. This reporting requirement has been delegated to the Secretary of the Interior.

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM): Background

Despite decades of significant United States economic and financial support and wideranging contacts with the rest of the world, the government of the FSM has not developed indigenous capacity to generate and disseminate economic and financial information and formulate the type of economic and financial policy that modern economies routinely generate. Even basic statistics on the various components of the national economy, the various state economies, the tax base, population, labor force, employment, wages, salaries and pensions and other commonly followed elements in the Pacific such as migration are not routinely compiled unless such activities are undertaken by outsiders.

Both the FSM national government and the four states consider the provision and dissemination of economic and financial information a luxury and, therefore, do not include it routinely in the national and state budgets. It is not entirely clear why, but government in the FSM attaches little value to economic and financial information. This continues to be the case even when there are requirements and financial provisions for monitoring economic and financial progress during the period of the amended Compact.

Building capacity, including compiling and disseminating economic and financial information and policy formulation, is, in fact, one of the major areas of focus.

A succession of foreign advisory teams, including the Economic Management Policy Advisory Team (EMPAT), funded in part by the United States since its beginning in the mid-1990s, has been employed over the past decade to generate and disseminate macroeconomic data and offer economic and financial advice to the national and state governments. Despite excellent work by outside entities, the skills to continue this work have rarely been transferred to FSM government staff who could continue this work independently. On those rare occasions that local staff has gained a certain degree of competence in such endeavors, they have found better job prospects elsewhere. In fact, EMPAT’s engagement ended at the end of 2004, with no successor mechanism. With the departure of EMPAT, there is the likelihood that there will be once again a deficit of credible economic and financial data.

The amended Compact with the FSM provides for a certain level of economic and financial aid every year through fiscal year 2023, but places greater and more explicit emphasis than did the original Compact on expanding the productive capacity of the economy in a more predictable manner. This is to occur through improvements in public infrastructure, public health, public education, public sector capacity building, the environment, and institutional reforms that would make the FSM a more open and attractive market to overseas capital and skills. These improvements would also be seen by global and regional development assistance providers as signs of progress and reasons to invest in the FSM.

Unlike the first Compact, the amended Compact provides for the creation of a trust fund for the people of the FSM that, if maintained with the prudence that successful public trust funds require, will generate a reliable income stream after 2023. Income from the trust fund may not be sufficient to replace the Compact grant assistance that expires in

2023. It is therefore imperative that the FSM take steps to achieve significant economic growth through private sector expansion and reduce its dependence on grants or the trust fund.

Since the total U.S. grant drops by a certain amount every year until 2023, with the amount of reduction going into the trust fund, the operating grant will be smaller every year. To compensate for the operational (sector) grant reduction every year until 2023, the FSM national government and its four state governments will have to make the necessary adjustments in their budget proposals to the Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO). The FSM national government and its four state governments must also work to find other sources of income such economic development, taxes or fees to make up for the decrements in the operating grants from the United States. With 18 years of reliable operational grant and trust fund deposits, the amended Compact provides the people of the FSM a horizon of sufficient length in which to plan the post-Compact phase of their economic and financial destiny.

The year 2023 may appear so far in the future as to give political and traditional leaders in the FSM a false sense of comfort and security. However, long-term viability of the FSM economy beyond a steady flow of U.S. assistance (compact grants and other U.S.

aid) would require the hard work ahead to start immediately. This would entail identifying those areas of the economy, current and future, where scarce resources would be best invested. With those areas of the economy that would require development policies and investment plans, the FSM leadership would then start the search for resources that would make it possible to move toward a more self-sufficient economy, mainly through expanding the private sector. Government would provide support for the economy, rather than being the mainstay of the economy as it has been. The main objective of this plan would be to steer the FSM’s post-Compact economy toward a sustainable standard of living for the entire population that is based primarily on indigenous production and less on the inflow of foreign funds.

Some of the resources to make prosperity through expansion of the productive capacity possible in the post-Compact era may come from global and regional assistance providers such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), otherwise known as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, other bi- and multilateral agencies and governments in the Asia-Pacific region such as Japan and Taiwan which already provide a significant amount of assistance to the region. To secure funds of a certain level from these providers that would make a difference in the productive capacity of the FSM economy, especially in its small and remote states, the work has to begin now, and an important part of that work has to be continued assessment of what the economy’s productive capacity is, how it performs, how it evolves, and what its best future can be.

In the spirit of the joint undertaking that the amended Compact is, the enabling legislation, Public Law 108-188 section 140(h)(1), requires this annual economic and financial report on the FSM by the United States Government. It will give the United States Congress information on, among other things, the use and effectiveness of United States financial, program, and technical assistance funds, the status of economic policy reforms, and the status of the efforts to increase investment in the FSM’s aggregate productive capacity.

This report for the fiscal Year 2005, the second since the amended Compact took effect, is submitted in fulfillment of that requirement. The report is based largely on two sources of data: (1) economic, financial and demographic data compiled by EMPAT consultants and others who advised the FSM government during the year, (2) the FSM Government’s first Report to the President of the United States (2004), required by section 214 of the amended Compact. The FSM’s Report is to outline the use of United States grant assistance and other assistance and progress in meeting mutually agreed program and economic goals. The FSM’s first report was received by the Department of the Interior in August 2005 and subsequently transmitted to the Executive Office of the President.

Economic and Financial Review of the FSM

Economic and financial statistics of the FSM may present a mixed to favorable picture over the period when the economic provisions of the original Compact were in effect.

However, the United States Government and American taxpayers can take satisfaction in the knowledge that the FSM, a political and economic entity made up of disparate peoples with distinct cultures, languages, and histories within small island communities, is an established, legitimate and dynamic democracy. Elections take place with citizen participation and tranquility. To the extent that democratic institutions and practices encourage transparency in government, direct involvement of citizens in their affairs and stability in the market place, the FSM is a reasonably stable and predictable market place.

These attributes should make it possible to attract foreign resources other than U.S.

Compact grants and other U.S. assistance.

As pointed out in last year’s report, the initial stage of the implementation of the amended Compact was expected to boost the FSM economy in FISCAL YEAR 2005. Based on data included in the FSM’s fiscal year 2004 Compact Annual Report that is required by the amended Compact (section 215), the FSM GDP was an estimated $239.5 million in fiscal year 2005, up 4.9 percent from a revised $228.3 million in 2004. Per capita GDP in the FSM was $2,211 in 2005, the highest recorded since the beginning of the Compact in 1986. This level of per capita national income would place the FSM at roughly at the same level as Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Nicaragua and Iraq, for instance.

Looking at the period 1987–2004 as a way to assess the impact of the original Compact, it appears that although average by world standards, the FSM’s overall economic performance was better than the average for most of the isolated and independent economies of the Pacific, which have generally stagnated or declined over the same period. Evidence of FSM’s economic history suggests two distinct phases of economic change: (a) the growth and prosperity phase, roughly from 1987 to 1995, when real (adjusted for inflation) GDP grew every year, and (2) decline and stagnation phase, roughly from 1995 to 2004, when real GDP either declined or stagnated.

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