News Brief, February 23, 2012

Legislative Penal Holds Public Hearing
Today, February 23, 2012, the Committee on Resources, Education and Development of the 8th Legislature of the State of Yap held a public hearing with the representatives from the government to discuss the detail of an amendment measure which is still pending with the Committee.

The measure seeks to amend Title 22 of the Yap State Code by amending Chapter 3, on Foreign Investment Act, to establish a Foreign Investment Board, to provide technical amendments, and for other purposes.

According to the proponents of this particular measure, the current Investment Act does not have a Board and therefore, all the functions and responsibility rests with the Director of the Department of Resources and Development.

The Legislature is trying to create a board, which will protect the local businesses and at the same time bring in all the foreign investors who are interested to establish their businesses within the State of Yap. The proponents of the measure believe that a Foreign Investment Board should be created because it could make better decisions than a one person especially during the approval of business applications from outside investors.

During the discussions, government witnesses have raised questions as to whether a Foreign Investment Board is really needed at this point in time. Witnesses have expressed concerns that an Investment Board may delay the process for approval of business applications.

Others shared the experience the Marshalls had years back with investors from China and other countries that came and closed down all the local businesses in Majuro and had to restart again after they pulled out from their islands.

Some of the principle witnesses pointed out that the problem with Marshall was similar to other places where they allowed foreign investors to become citizens and earn the same right as the local to establish their businesses.

Others believed an Investment Board should be created in order to attract foreign investors to open up businesses in Yap. They explained that Foreign Investors are looking at places where their investments could be protected. They will have trust to invest their money in Yap if they see that a Board is in place to protect their investments.

Before they wrap up the public hearing, the RED Committee told the witnesses that they would take all their comments into consideration during their work on the Bill.