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Kosrae legislative conference urge adherence to timelines on national issues

TOFOL, KOSRAE. September 14, 2012 – The Micronesian Legislative Conference of (MLC) of 2012 in the State of Kosrae concluded with all legislative bodies urged to adhere to timelines established to address national issues noted in the 16 resolutions and the Joint Communiqué adopted on September 6, 2012.

The three day conference started on September 4th with each of the nation’s five legislative bodies reporting its progress on the issues prioritized on the agenda of the 2011 MLC in Palikir.

Priority among the issues of the conference was the Federated States of Micronesia Tax Reform plan. The national Tax Reform plan is a proposal which has spanned over six years and resulted in a set of comprehensive legislations which included among others, the Unified Revenue Authority (URA), Revenue Administration Act (RAA), the Net Profits Tax (NPT), Standardized Import Duty (SID) and Excise Tax and Salary Tax. 

While most of the legislative bodies reported progress in their enabling legislations, it was the consensus of the lawmakers that much remains to be done by the national and state governments before the governments can move forward with their medium and long term economic planning.

The lawmakers adopted MLC Resolution 12-1, which urged the legislative bodies to set and adhere to firm deadlines for action on their remaining enabling legislation of the FSM Tax Reform Plan. In addition, the resolution encouraged the national and state governments to coordinate their efforts to complete FSM tax reform plan.

Human Trafficking was also prioritized by the conference as a global issue affecting developed and developing countries alike.  The lawmakers agreed that by a nation defining the activities that contribute to human trafficking as crimes and according appropriate punishments, it raises awareness of human trafficking and eventually reduces the vulnerability of its citizens.

The conference recognized current efforts by the national and state governments to address the issue and encouraged additional legislations to prevent the issue from spreading. The lawmakers applauded the National Trafficking Act of 2012 and greed that it will be most effective if complementing components of legislation are also passed at state levels. Accordingly they adopted MLC Resolution 12-2, to urge the legislative bodies to expedite appropriate legislations to further address the issue of Human Trafficking.

New to the Micronesian Legislative Conference of 2012 was the need to establish a committee to identify all viable strategies to provide for the economic and financial stability of the FSM at the national, state and local levels from 2023 onward.  Through MLC Resolution 12-3, the lawmakers called for the establishment of a planning committee to be identified by the five governments from a broad cross-section of the public to begin the long-term planning process.

Other resolutions adopted by the MLC of 2012 included:

MLC Resolution 12-8, requested the legislative bodies to take action to gradually decrease the reliance on fossil fuels and promote the establishment of a coconut biomass and bio-fuels industry.  The resolution further called for the promotion and support of renewal energy projects throughout the FSM;

MLC Resolution 12-6, called on the FSM Congress to again enact legislation to enable dual citizenship and MLC Resolution 12-7, requested for updates on the solvency status for the FSM Social Security program.

The remaining resolutions expressed appreciation to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for providing financial and technical support to the MLC 2012 and to all the presenters at the conference.

Of special note is MLC Resolution12-4, which expressed the sincere gratitude and appreciation of the Micronesian Legislative Conference of 2012 to the State of Kosrae for graciously and professionally hosting the Conference at the Kosrae State Legislature.

Hosted at the Kosrae States Legislature, the MLC of 2012 elected host Speaker Lyndon P. Abraham to preside over the three day conference as its Chairman. Participants of the conference included representatives from each of the state legislatures and from the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia.

The MLC was established to strengthen the rapport between the legislative branches of the five governments and at the same time provide a platform for the legislative bodies to discuss and define solutions for issues of mutual concern. The Congress of the FSM, as the national legislative body, serves as the Secretariat for the conference.

The five legislative bodies agreed that the next Micronesian Legislative Conference will be in the State of Chuuk hosted by the Chuuk State Legislature.

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Information about the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia is available through the:

P.O. Box PS-3  ?  Palikir, Pohnpei 96941 ?  T:  (691) 320-2324 ? F:  (691) 320-5122
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