4 Jul 2008

Marshall Islands declares economic emergency

10:22 am on 4 July 2008

The Marshall Islands has declared a state of economic emergency to fast-track domestic energy reduction and cost cutting measures, while lending weight to appeals to donor countries for help.

Despite three electricity tariff increases since January, ³the national power utilities are projected to face an estimated shortfall of $17.5 million to $21 million over the next 12 months.

This deficit amounts to close to 20 percent of the entire national budget.

The Marshall Islands has enough power plant fuel on island to keep the lights on until the end of August.

But if it can"t come up with $8.5 million by next weekend to pay for last month¹s

diesel shipment and a down payment on the next shipment, the country will run out of fuel.

The Marshalls Energy Company has told Cabinet that without an immediate cash injection, it cannot raise the $8.5 million by next weekend.