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Regional News

Hosting of Micro Games in peril due to lack of money

KOROR (Palau Horizon) – Due to lack of money, Palau’s hosting of the 2010 Micronesian Games is in peril.

The Palau National Olympic Committee (PNOC) is confident that sources of funding will be identified the Palau leadership however is not too keen on hosting it.
PNOC is requesting a funding of $1.1 million from the government, PNOC president Frank Kyota said that $1.7 million is needed to host the sports event.
The $600,000 will be raised through sponsorship.
President Johnson Toribiong in an interview said the hosting of the Micro Games “ would not be considered appropriate when we have $10 million debt and a limited budget.”
Kyota in an interview is hopeful though that the government will find funding sources. Presently PNOC has no money yet at its disposal to start preparation for the games.
“There is no money, we are still waiting for money,” Kyota said.
The Senate on Wednesday introduced a measure earmarking $600,000 for the hosting of the games, the money will be taken out from the remaining money from the loan acquired by the Palau government from the Taiwan’s Mega Bank.
The loan was supposed to be used for airport maintenance but was reprogrammed to pay for the government’s unpaid electric bills.
Vice President and Finance Minister Kerai Mariur said the remaining balance from the loan is supposed to be used for other governmental operations.
“If we are not ready to host the games, we should have declined,” Mariur said.
In an earlier letter to members of Congress, the president said that due to the financial situation, “please advise whether we have sources of funds for this project as soon as possible, otherwise , we must advise the Palau National Olympic Committee that we cannot afford to host the Micronesian Games 2010.”
Although Toribiong is not too eager to host the games due to budgetary constraints, he said he will leave it up to Congress to find source of funds to host the games.
Kyota said that the hosting of the games, “is the only budget investment that Palau can benefit from based on its returns.”
Toribiong however disagreed with Kyota saying that in order to recover the money that Palau will use to host the games, participants need “to spend $25 million to generate $1 million.”
“Sports is more of a luxury than a necessity,” Toribiong said.
Palau won the bid to host Micro Games in 2010 after the Marshall Islands declined to host it. The last time Palau hosted the games was in 1998.
The games is slated from August 1 to 10, with 10 Pacific Island nations participating in 14 sports events.