Palau budget FY 2023 was signed into law on September 22 at the Ngerulmud Capital rotunda after a brief signing ceremony.
Senate and House of Delegates worked round the clock to get it ironed out in time for President Surangel Whipps Jr.’s signature.
The law, RPPL 11-24 authorised for appropriation US$95,579,000 and appropriated US$94,879,000 for the next fiscal year, starting October 1, 2022. The budget exceeds the original budget submitted by President Whipps in July by US$3.665 million.
The new items added to the budget included US$2.4 million in subsidies to Social Security Administration and the Civil Service Pension Plan. In addition, extending the 75 cents per hour increase in government employees’ salaries to include state governments.
“This wasn’t everything we wanted, but it is a good first step,” said Whipps of the wage increase. “We will continue fighting for further wage increases for those not included in this salary hike.”
Additional funds were appropriated to fund state audits, support Palau National Youth Council, support the national bus service, fund the transitional facility and pay to conduct a comprehensive study on the ROP’s hemodialysis programme.
The budget also includes subsidies that extend the PPUC’s automatic fuel price adjustment and lifeline subsidy programme.
It amended the Biosecurity Act to authorize police officers to board vessels with customs officers to inspect facilities. This is a “first step drug interdiction measure” to help with reducing illegal drug entry into the Republic.
The law allocated funds to establish a permanent office to manage NCD funds.
Sources of funds for the SS and Pension Subsidies, the extension of salary increases to state governments, and other items listed above come from the Fisheries Protection Trust Fund, NCD Funds, Cyclical Reserves fund, and local revenue.