Marshall Is joins regional development bank that AmSam continues to bypass
Radio New Zealand reports Guam-based Pacific Islands Development Bank is ready to roll out loans in the Marshall Islands following the completion of all banking approvals.
The Bank’s president and chief executive Aren Palik announced the availability of loans on Thursday. The Pacific Islands Development Bank is a financial institution established by the US-affiliated governments in the Micronesia region, each of which invests one million US dollars to be members and gain access to loans.
The Marshall Islands became a member last year and has paid in $500,000 with the balance expected to be invested in the near future. Mr Palik says these investments open loan opportunities for island residents and businesses. He says he wants to emphasise the Bank is there to complement the Marshall Islands Development Bank and the Bank of Marshall Islands, not to compete with them.
American Samoa has by-passed this regional development bank since 1986. Here are two reports from June 2007 on the development bank. The first by La Poasa and the second by Fili Sagapolotele:
APIL invites territory to join Pac Islands Development Bank
(June 25, 2007) — The Association of Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL) approved last Friday (June 22, 2007) a resolution “encouraging and inviting” American Samoa to become a member of and shareholder in the Pacific Island Development Bank (PIDB), an institution funded by APIL.
The 26th general assembly of APIL, which convened last week, called on American Samoa to join the bank and benefit from economic and social benefits which are available to PIDB members.
To become a member of PIDB, each member has to contribute $1 million “as the startup capitalization” for PIDB, the resolution says. On his weekend radio program, Governor Togiola said he supports American Samoa becoming a member of the Pacific Island Development Bank, adding that it would open a financing avenue for local economic development.
Togiola said the institution currently receives funding from China and European countries which American Samoa is not eligible for because of its status as a U.S. territory. However if the territory became a member of the Pacific Island Development Bank, it would qualify for assistance through loans from the institution.
At a reception last week for APIL members at the Governor’s Mansion, Togiola said he told them that he would support American Samoa’s membership and he wants to get a bill through for the membership fee in the next Fono session in July. According to the resolution urging American Samoa’s membership, PIDB is a regional development finance institution and has engaged in various financing “that promotes regional commerce and trade among and between member islands...”
Current members of the Pacific Islands Development Bank are Guam, Palau, CNMI, Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap. The resolution also states that PIDB’s financial condition has improved over the years and it has expanded its lending programs and services to small and medium-sized businesses in the region.
It states that American Samoa’s membership in PIDB will “generate economic and social benefits to the government and businesses of American Samoa, and promote the mission of APIL and PIDB.” APIL members also approved last Friday a resolution calling on all APIL member nations “to join hands and share information on ways to prevent further gradual global warming for our atmosphere.
” The resolution recommends that APIL members “increase our reliance on renewable energy sources such as wind, sun, and geothermal energies and further reduce pollution.”
Membership in PIDB requires fono resolution and governor’s endorsement
(June 29, 2007) — The Fono will need to approve a concurrent resolution, with endorsement from Governor Togiola, in order to pave the way for American Samoa to join the Pacific Island Development Bank (PIDB), an initiative of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL).
American Samoa is bound up in the history of PIDB. it was here that PIDB was first discussed and approved by the Association when the territory hosted a meeting of APIL in about 1986. However, 10 years later American Samoa has yet to join PIDB, which prompted APIL during last Friday’s session to approve a resolution encouraging American Samoa to become a member.
During discussions of the resolution it was revealed that the membership fee is $1 million, but American Samoa will not need to front the entire amount at one time; it can be made in installments. According to testimony presented to APIL delegates, the process for American Samoa to join PIDB must be through a resolution by the territorial government, approved by both the Fono and the Executive Branch.
Once a PIDB member, American Samoa will have two representations on the PIDB board of governors, one from the executive branch and the other from the Fono. Testimony also revealed that a new idea, to assist APIL member nations who have not been able to joint PIDB, is that instead of the $1 million cash infusion, the APIL member can put up assets worth $1 million to join.
Governor Togiola supports American Samoa joining PIDB, which he told Fono members and APIL delegates during a dinner reception last Thursday at the governor’s mansion. The governor also voiced his support during his weekend radio program.
Senate President Lolo M. Moliga said the Fono will have to decide on the matter, and he and House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale will need to first review guidelines to see the benefits for American Samoa. “One million dollars is a lot of money but we want to see how this program will be beneficial to us,” said Lolo.
“There is no question it’s good for new businesses but I’d like to see how the bank can help existing local businesses.” He said the Fono leadership would also like to see how PIDB can assist in future development. He did not confirm immediately if a measure will be introduced when the Fono convenes next month, to allow American Samoa to join PIDB.
According to the APIL resolution encouraging American Samoa to join PIDB, it is a development finance institution and has engaged in various financing that promotes regional commerce and trade among and between member islands. It say that PIDB’s financial condition has improved over the years and it has expanded its lending programs and services to small and medium-sized businesses in the region.
“American Samoa’s membership in the bank will generate economic and social benefits to the government and businesses in American Samoa and promote the mission of APIL and PIDB,” it says.