29 Jul 2005

Warning of Marshalls trust fund revenue shortfall

1:53 pm on 29 July 2005

The United States Government Accountability Office and the Marshall Islands government are worried that the Marshalls' newly established trust fund is not earning enough interest to replace U.S. grant funding when an agreement with Washington ends in 2023.

A report from the Accountability Office issued earlier this month says the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands trust funds are earning returns of less than three per cent raising concerns about their ability to replace grant assistance.

Current U.S. grant funding and rental payments make up more than half the country's national budget.

Marshall Islands government Chief Secretary, Robert Muller, says the fund should provide assistance equivalent to, or consistent with, what was provided in annual grant assistance in prior years.

Anything else, he says, could result in severe economic shocks and disruptions for the Marshall Islands.

Mr Muller says the Marshall Islands has already lost almost three years of earnings because of slow investment of the fund.