The Joint Economic and Financial Accountability Committee (JEMFAC) held its annual meeting through a brief virtual call between the RMI and US members August 31. Representing the RMI was the newly appointed JEMFAC Vice Chairperson Foreign Minister Kitlang Kabua and Finance Minister Brenson Wase were joined by Ambassador Gerald Zackios and representatives from RMI Compact sectors, and support staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Representing the US was the newly appointed JEMFAC Chairperson Assistant Secretary Carmen Cantor and members Taylor Ruggles and Dr. Richard Brostrom, US Embassy Charge Jeremiah Knight, and support staff from Insular Affairs and State Department.
At the opening of the meeting, JEMFAC members joined Assistant Secretary Cantor’s call for a moment of silence for all those who have died from Covid-19.
In her brief remarks, Foreign Minister Kabua thanked the US government for all its support that has been rendered in the current COVID-19 community outbreak in the Marshall Islands including the support from Dr. Richard Brostrom and his medical team from the HHS and CDC who are on the ground assisting, and acknowledged the significant progress on using Compact sector grants and Supplemental Education Grant for nutritious school lunches to the public schools in the Marshall Islands.
JEMFAC approved $36,968,060 for Fiscal Year 2023 Compact of Free Association Sector Grant Assistance. This is the final year of the current funding agreement in the Compact. The breakdown:
• $9,121,057, Education
• $6,880,797, Health
• $2,845,850, Ebeye Special Needs – Education
• $2,369,620, Ebeye Special Needs – Health
• $1,590,990, Ebeye Special Needs – Capital
• $11,090,526, Infrastructure
• $2,535,740, Kwajalein Impact Fund
• $266,740, Kwajalein Environmental Impact
• $266,920, Disaster Assistance Emergency Fund
JEMFAC also authorized the use of $500,000 from the Supplemental Education Grant and $214,100 from Education Sector Grant assistance to the RMI Public School System’s School Lunch Program in conjunction with the commitment of $2,313,796 from the RMI’s General Fund as presented in the final Fiscal Year 2023 PSS Consolidated Budget Portfolio.
JEMFAC will reconvene in October to discuss other matters, according to a release.
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