24 Sep 2007

Marshall chamber of commerce urges forcus on tourism

1:17 pm on 24 September 2007

The Marshall Islands chamber of commerce says the government should reduce the number of its public servants and focus its budget on tourism instead.

The government has approved a 123 million US dollars budget for 2008 with 70 percent of its revenue depending on aid from the United States and Taiwan.

The number of public servants has doubled since the late 1990s and half of Taiwan's aid of 5.5 million US dollars will cover salaries of government employees.

The chamber of commerce secretary, James Mc Lean, says the government must encourage the development of private businesses and change its priorities.

"We have certainly seen some good progress this year in tourism. It has been a terrific year. That is new revenue and we would like to see more of that continue; and those things that support the development of tourism, it could see a lot more government priority and spending."

James Mc Lean is concerned about the government's longterm dependence on donor money.