29 Jun 2020

Kiribati president to select his cabinet this week

5:09 pm on 29 June 2020

The President of Kiribati says he will begin selecting his cabinet ministers this week.

Kiribati President, Taneti Maamau

Kiribati President, Taneti Maamau Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka'uta

Taneti Maamau registered a convincing win in last week's presidential election beating his rival Banuera Berina by 8000 votes.

At his inauguration he called for calm after a heated campaign and promised transparency.

Mr Maamau said he held off on selecting a cabinet last week to allow MPs to return to Tarawa from their respective constituencies.

He said one of the first orders of business would be addressing the country's ongoing Covid-19 pandemic response.

"Right now, I think the cabinet decision was earlier released that we will review the sort of closing of borders by the end of June, this month.

"Hopefully our new cabinet will make our decision by then."

Fisheries revenue to fund ambitious social welfare policy

Meanwhile, Taneti Mamaau said fisheries revenue will be the main source of funding for his ambitious social welfare policies.

In his government's manifesto launched before the election Taneti Mamaau promised to double welfare payments for the elderly and introduce a new youth unemployment benefit.

Critics of the policy, which will cost around $AUD20 million for the youth component alone, are skeptical about the government's capacity to deliver on its promises.

But Taneti Mamaau said he plans to fund his polices by increasing revenue from the tuna fishery.

"We have to invest more, fishing our own fish. In addition to selling the licences we have to fish our own fish," Taneti Mamaau said.

"We have to produce them and market them. Since we have the resource it is just a matter of find the ability and the right materials and industries."