President Maamau admits government’s original budget on copra was insufficient
The President, speaking in reply to burning questions from local journalists who were conveying the huge disappointment of many copra cutters who were left penniless for about a month after they had produced and sold their copra to government, graciously admitted that their allocation of $17.2 million for copra in the 2016 budget was short by about $4 million.
The president of Kiribati
He said this was not intended but it was the result of an unforeseen jump in the production of copra prompted by the $2 a kilo price which had turned every coconut into copra. As currently witnessed, market vendors from North Tarawa have stopped selling coconuts in the market as they now earn more money when cut, dried and sold as copra. Even people in South Tarawa have consumed less coconuts on themselves and their pigs and saved the rest for copra. Over three million have been added to the budget through virement and other legal means to cover copra production up to the middle of December. Further funds would be released after a supplementary budget for copra and other expenses has been approved in the forthcoming meeting of Parliament.
President Maamau has graciously apologized to the people who may have been inconvenienced by this unintended mistake and assured the copra cutters that this would not happen again in the future.