House adopts amendment to repeal Environmental Impact Fee
Considers casino as alternative source of revenue
By: L.N. Reklai
March 9, 2017 (Koror, Palau) House of Delegates adopted in its 3rd reading, House bill 10-11-1, SD1 at the First Special Session this March. The bill repeals the Environmental Impact Fee in its entirety, citing the drop in tourism arrivals as the reason for such change. [restrict]
“The tourist numbers have dropped. There is only one airline now bringing in customers from Hong Kong and Macau,” says Speaker of the House Sabino Anastacio. “It would better to just cancel this fee and accept the casino,” he added in a phone interview last night.
Proposal to reintroduce the casino bill as source of funding for Palau has been circulating among certain OEK members since the 9th OEK.
The Environmental Impact Fee or EIF is a $100 fee assessed of every passenger arriving into Palau, with certain exemptions. It is allocated to Fisheries Protection Trust Fund ($10), Civil Service Pension Plan ($25), State fees ($12.50), Green Fee for PAN sites($30), and general government fund($22.50).
The fee will take effect on April 1, 2017, according to RPPL 9-49, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act, unless amended or repealed.
The amendment repealing this fee in its entirely passed 3rd reading in the House and will be transmitted to Senate for action.
President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. had earlier submitted recommendations to both House and the Senate to postpone the implementation of the fee to October of 2017, taking into consideration many international factors affecting inbound travelers to Palau. [/restrict]