The Joint Economic Management and Fiscal Accountability Committee (JEMFAC) held its first-ever virtual meeting last Friday.
JEMFAC, which combines US and RMI officials, annually approves US Compact funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
The RMI team gathered at the College of the Marshall Islands board room to connect by video with officials in the US. The RMI delegation was led by JEMFAC Vice Chairman Foreign Minister Casten Nemra, alongside RMI’s second JEMFAC member, Minister of Finance, Banking and Postal Services Alfred Alfred Jr.
The US delegation was led by the Director of Insular Affairs, Nikolao Pula, who chairs JEMFAC. Bill Gallo of Health and Human Services and Suzanne Lawrence from the Department of State rounded out the US side. Also in attendance were US Ambassador to the RMI Roxanne Cabral, RMI Ambassador Gerald Zackios, Chief Secretary Kino Kabua and other participants from the various Compact-funded areas in the Marshall Islands.
“The hard work and dedication of both governments have brought us here today,” said Nemra. “I note that we were unable to have a mid-year meeting of the JEMFAC this year due to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus pandemic earlier this year, which continues to affect everything in our daily lives as we grapple with this new reality. I am encouraged by the outcome of the meeting.”
After the opening statements given by Pula and Nemra, the presentations began with the Ministry of Finance giving an economic overview on RMI’s budget and how it has been and will continue to be impacted by Covid-19. Following the presentation from Finance came the sector updates from the Public School System, including the College of the Marshall Islands, and the Ministry of Health and Human Services.
In addition to approving $34,159,131 for Fiscal Year 2021, JEMFAC also approved the use of Infrastructure Sector and Kwajalein Impact Fund for the following projects:
• Ebeye Elementary School Phase 3
• Laura High School (4 classrooms)
• Health Clinic
• Ebeye Hospital Maintenance
• Mid Corridor Phase 2 (Kwajalein Impact Fund).