30 Apr 2007

Marshall Islands government dips into funds meant to secure financial future

6:13 am on 30 April 2007

The Marshall Islands government has used 1.7 million US dollars of Taiwan-provided trust funds despite an agreement not to touch the money until a later date.

Taiwan began contributing 2.5 million dollars annually to a government trust fund last year, to accumulate funds for the future financial health of the Marshall Islands.

The money was supposed to be available for government use after it reached the 10 million dollar mark.

But the fund was only slightly over 3 million dollars when the government late last month withdrew the money to help resolve a cash crisis that threatened to plunge the capital into darkness because of a lack of fuel for its power plant.

The Marshall Island's foreign minister, Gerald Zackios, says his government's decision to withdraw the money is a concern.

He says the government needs to remain focused on the long-term purpose of the trust fund.

Taiwan's Ambassador to the Marshalls says he was not informed by the Marshall Islands about the trust fund withdrawal.