Palau’s leadership in their annual meeting agreed to move critical bills forward including the proposed Belau Sub-Marine Cable Corporation and the Marine Sanctuary legislations.
During their April 27, visit web 2015 meeting with the President, members of both houses of the Olbiil Era Kelulau including the President’s ministers discussed important bills pending in the OEK that require immediate actions.
According to their meeting agenda, the Belau Sub-Marine Cable Corporation proposal “requires the most urgency”. This legislation, if passed on a timely manner, would provide Palau the necessary loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to layout fiber optics cables for high-speed internet.
ADB funding has reportedly been set aside for Palau however if the bill is not acted upon Palau may lose the funding opportunity.
Information released to the media by the Office of the President indicates that the partnership between Palau and FSM for the fiber optic project “was created to help keep cost low and the timing factor in this partnership is crucial”. FSM reportedly has the opportunity to commence connection from Yap to Guam, but once the opportunity is missed, Palau would have to find alternative ways to secure more funding to connect the nation to Guam.
In the meantime, both Palau and FSM are considering companies currently operating in the Pacific and has identified one that is reportedly laying fiber optic cables near Palau and Guam. The name of the company was not released.
The leaders agreed on passing the Belau Sub-Marine Cable Corporation Act before the end of the April Regular Session.
Providing high-speed internet service through a fiber optic cable has been discussed extensively over the years. Although the O3b Network connectivity provided by both Palau Telecom and Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC) provides some relief the service is not entirely reliable especially during bad weather.
Other pending bills discussed include the Marine Sanctuary with public hearing scheduling underway. The Senate requested some time to be considered for this bill.
The Visa Act, which was proposed to address visa requirements for citizens of countries without diplomatic relations with Palau, was also discussed. Two bills on visa requirements pending in the Senate have reportedly been consolidated.
The Procurement Act, Senior Citizen’s Discount and the authorization of the Bureau of Tourism to promulgate regulations were also on the agenda.