25 Mar 2013

Job losses likely in Marshall Islands as US sequestration take effect

6:12 pm on 25 March 2013

Workers at a missile testing range in the Marshall Islands are facing job losses as the United States government budget 'sequestration' cut backs begin hitting home.

The U.S. ambassador to the Marshall Islands has briefed President Christopher Loeak and other elected leaders on the possibility that 15 percent of the Marshall Islands workforce at the Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll could lose their jobs.

The Foreign Minister Phillip Muller says 130 of the 900 Marshall Islands workers at the range could lose their jobs.

Mr Muller also says they have been advised that some U.S. federal grants that support education and health programs in the Marshall Islands could be cutback in the wake of the sequestration that took effect from March the 1st when American lawmakers could not agree on a budget plan.

The U.S. government provides about 60 percent of the national budget of the Marshall Islands.

Funding under a Compact of Free Association is exempt from the cuts, but discretionary U.S. health and education grants could be reduced and this could affted up to 60 government workers in Majuro.