8 May 2008

Marshalls planner calls for school fee cuts

1:34 pm on 8 May 2008

The Marshall Islands national planner is urging the government to look at ways to help put money back into people's pockets as the price of fuel, electricity and rice has skyrocketed.

The director of the Economic Policy, Planning and Statistics Office is urging as a first step that the Ministry of Education reduce or eliminate registration fees for all public schools.

Carl Hacker says eliminating the fees can give some much needed financial relief to people.

He told President Litokwa Tomeing in a letter he was concerned about the dramatic increase in food and other costs in the Marshall Islands.

He has conceded that it's difficult to raise salaries so eliminating school fees is a small cost to government operations.

Mr Hacker has also suggested a review of taxes, particularly for lower income employees.

On Majuro, petrol prices hit US$5.70 a gallon this week, the power company raised electric rates more than 15 percent in April, and rice prices have leapt from under $8 a 20 pound bag to more than $10.