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March 10, 2009

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Im a Palauan and can't get a loan from NDBP and this foreign company can get their loan. I guess we really have sold Palau to outside investors!!

This sounds very fishy to me. Why would a company putting up a USD$20 millon dollar hotel want a USD$2 million loan.

It would make sense if the company put-up USD$2 millon and took out a USD18 million loan.

Who is putting up that USD$18 million required for the hotel construction, if the developer have only secured a USD$2 million loan from NDPB?

Is the developer expecting to raise money from Palauan people.

I think we should be very careful.

Sulang.

This is a bridge loan, which is short term debt to fund operations and capex, not the total debt. They are probably raising long term debt from other investors or other banks.

Great to see Aman is finally coming to Palau. They constantly top the conde naste top hotels of the world so this is a great signal for our country.

Meng sewer eldi mechecheokl e dio mudech er elechang mekukuk......mochal borngii a meklou meringel a eral hotel....mocha omachediil a sewer.

akora

...this loan smell Alan all over it.

... But remember Aman resort has Ngerielb, very, very, very, high priced collateral.


With the economy as is I wonder if it's wise to build another 'vacant' luxirious hotel. I would strongly encourage a Stimulus.

This is great news!!!

With jobless rate climbing all over the world. This this will open new jobs, give our island addition choices for travellers and in return put
more money in our government that is desperately needed today.....


Mesulang,

Amman will put Palau on the map as one of the more respectable high end destinations in the world.

Good to know that Amman has started the project and using local banks for their bridge loans.

This is a smart business tactic, $2mil line of credit on a $20mil dollar project, schedule to complete in three years. The bank will inspect the work before process any payment, the owner will make payment directly to the bank to avoid paying the tax, any problem with the building the bank inspector will deal with it at no expense to the owner. The system will work better for the contractor, owner and the bank.Anyone knows the interest rate on this line of credit?

Mosi your point about jobs is a good one. But my concern is that the majority of Aman ownership is India based. If you look at the clientele of these high end boutique hotels, rich Europeans are at the top of the list. So let me ask you this question, with the exception of Marvin's fake british accent and given Aman's ownership, where do you think most of its employees will come from for its Palau hotel? I think you know the answer. Cheap labor equals profits. On another note, I read that Aman is also developing a hotel in Haiti and have promised to build a school. Why can't our country get those same kind of concessions when it comes to foreign development instead of used vans and quick cash donations that are more publicity stunts then anything and really non tenable in the long run. Time and time again are leaders have failed to deliver instead getting caught up in the game of political gain instead of doing what is best for our country in the years to come.

With the economic recession around the world who can we depend on to fly all the way around the world just to see Palau!! Today most travelers just want to be close to home if they go on vacation, theres not enough money to spend. I hope we do get people to come down and stay at this hotel cause we surely want that money back in NDBP so we Palauans can get loans for our projects!!

I also hope that it will open jobs for Palauans not for foreignners.......with the things goin on here in Palau I say good luck to all the Palauans that will be applying for jobs.

Ooops!Samsay I posted on the wrong side anyways,

Thanks and a very logical concern,

But I think each and everyone of us all agree that we can't fix, correct, or satisfy everyone when it comes to politics being involved. In any case I think if you look at it on a different point of veiw. You might see some positive side of things.


Regardless of who will be hired to provide the needs of the hotel in order be fully operational The fact still remains where as, we will have an additional source of revenues coming through in a form of individual taxes and business license. And on top of that, through this hotel Palau would also benefit from the contacts and exposure the hotel would invest on in order to attract more customers. These same customers would spend on mom and pop stores and what not which is all good for our island. Think
about the money spent on materials and equipments needed to construct this hotel. The construction workers who will also spend and pay taxes to the government. The bottom line here is that more than 20 million dollars will be spent in our island and even if there is an ink of ilegal activities smeared on it. I am still very sure that the majority of this money will reach both private and government sectors that is where I see the benefit of it all.

In the meantime I do concur with you on the need to be agressive on perssuing and convicting those who abuse their powers or deliberately break our laws to amash wealth for themselves. We need to create preventive measures to address loop holes if any and pass new laws that will give a strong message to the public that justice will be swift and decisive.


Mesulang,

Aman resorts is a 7-star hotel chain that caters to the ultra rich, who are not feeling the pinch of recession. Roomrates are over $1000 per night (check the website); needless to say not too many of us will be able to afford it, but I understand the need for it (not to mention $2mm dollars is penny change for them). People with yatchs and private jets don't want to stay at the hotels we have, they are used to higher standards, and I think this is a great project to bring more high-end tourists here.

Yes there are problems to be fixed, but we should fix them problems, not keep bitching about them. Sewer needs to be fixed but there are no revenues to fix it, so this will increase revenues. Wages will be low, that is a problem with our wage laws, they should be fixed. Don't blame business for hiring cheap labor; blame government for making it possible (and beneficial to do so) - tiekaikid ar merau er belau el di hire rar chad er oles, why is this so different? NDBP needs good paying customers so they can make more loans, and yet people who are not qualified are bitching about not getting loans. Chelik, me ke de mo bedul ker?

I hesitate to say this, but seems like whenever something good comes to Palau people automatically jump all over it and criticize it just because they aren't a part of it. Aman has the entire world to choose from when building their hotels. We should be happy they have picked Palau. It isn't lining my pockets as it isnt my work, but it is an improvement to my country, so I only offer my congratulations (and maybe hope I can afford an occasional lunch there).

Just my thoughts...

Did my own research, found numerous articles, and Amanresorts website. This is the website if anyone is interested.

www.amanresorts.com

Also, I read a news article that mentioned some of their elite clientele included Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. Wow! Not millionaires, but BILLIONAIRES, the richest man in the world and the 1st self-made black woman billionaire and considered one of the most influential women in the U.S.

I don't know but Aman looks a whole lot better than Nautilus and Casino. Can't seem to find anything on UK Holdings other the posting on the blogs and the old local newspaper articles, which were not very flattering...LOL...BTW, If I had to take a guess, I doubt that Bill Gates or Oprah would come here for casino.

This type of Hotel will not only bring high end customers to Palau, they will bring celebrity cooks, medias, private plains etc. this is good for Palau, its a start and will only benefit the Rep. of Palau in the future. the question is are we ready and prepared for this type of customers? safety, hospitals, airport security etc. we have to improve everything else to the same standard and meet the expectations.

Yes. We are ready. We have fair hospitals, good proximity to medical care in Asia, relative safety in Palau compared to other destinations, etc. We also have an excellent location to market ourselves as an exclusive destination. We're far away from everything, but not too far from many things. We can offer endless natural beauty and endless privacy to discerning guests.

This is a good move for Palau. We desperately need to transition our tourism from cheap weekend trips from Asia to extremely high end tourism. Forget huge tour buses and charter flights. We need fewer numbers of people bringing in more money and a willingness to spend more money. This means profitability and fewer feet stomping our corals.

Aman will bring in high end ammenities for their hotel. We can follow suit in our restaurants that cater to the tourist population. PPR and Palau Royal Resort are not bad hotels, but they are no where near in the same league as Aman.

Build a very high end eco-resort at the Aman site or in Babeldaob, and who knows. Maybe Angelina Jolie will have her next baby here. I'm just kidding. But seriously, this is the kind destination we need to become. Not the Cancun of the Asia Pacific region.

However, I do have to agree with Samsay. Maybe we should negotiate that Aman can fix the sewage system and put in some renewable solar power sources.


Razzio:
This is a first for me but I totally agree with you on putting Palau on the map as a high end tourist spot. I hope we will be able to use this as an example for future tourism development in Belau. The clientele for this resort are people whom are not subject to the downturns in the economy...one guest at Aman equals 12 Taiwanese guests at Palasia, PRR or even the SeaPassion. The impact of this resort is less than the impact of the low to medium range hotels we have in Palau. I think its the Maldives that charges developers for each toilet they put in their hotel rooms; not sure if this is actually true but it does make sense. Some years back, when the PPR was expanding its 60 rooms, part of the permitting process was to have money set aside for improvements at the Malakal Sewer Plant. This was the intent but it never made it to reality because of politics at the time.

Now, I really applaud the NDBP for thinking outside the box. This short term loan will bring in needed income for the bank and will definitely be of economic gain for Palau. My sources say that the former Nikko Hotel Palauan employees were given first priority at Aman. If anyone can verify this and let us know. This will be a win-win for both Aman and NDBP...and Palau's tourism sector.

Developments of this type will also benefit Palau because they will bring in some new "ideas" and innovations. They are already looking to see the possibility of building materials such as coconut palms for the flooring, which is being done in other places where Aman has its resorts. This will be a benefit to my relatives in Babeldaob who have the setup for cutting lumber, and a benefit for Palauan homeowners to learn from this innovation.

Great news overall and kudos to NDBP.

Chelik keang,

Komeral mesaud era sel somiu ediak mom dasu eriul. NDBP a kilengei era PMAir er $1,500,000 el loan elmla tuchelbakl ediak bel dum. Elechang engdio sisiu el TR engluu a $1,200,000 el stimulus elmora Oketall new dock. Ea $200,000 a mle harau era Tiger Cousin. Ea osisiu el Tiger a TR a ngiluu elmo manager er Aman Resort project malewaisei, engtela kuklenguu a Tiger?

Aikang a meral did family affair to benefits using the office authority to hire whiile getting higher salary.

A ngibes era udoud ameral mlachobulid ma Amt erkid elngii TR.

I hope JT/KM will make a new change. And those who violate the ROP laws will be charged and prosecuted. Nobody is above the law.

Sulang,

Alii to All:

Let me throw in my 2 cent for the sake of discussions. At the present, US banks have no money to loan, thus the credit crunch and the need to get some of the feds stimulus money. Our NDBP, on the hand and from what I understand, has so much money to loan but the 10% interest rate is a set back. In either case, the money is not being loaned because of luck of funds (U.S.) or high interst rates (ROP). So, given the foregoing, I tried explaining it to a couple of Senator friends while in Palau like this: Pass your own stimulus package by lowering the interest rate on the loans with NDBP as NDBP surely does not need any money from our Government. That way, people can start barrowing the money from NDBP, spend them in our local economy, and the rest should work out okay. I had suggested that the commercial rate be lowered to say 6% and farming/fishing to 4%.

What do you guys think of my proposed stimulus package?

Sulang,

Brien Sers Nicholas

Brien, I like your idea, and I don't understand why the NDBP interest is fixed at 10%. Palau is riskier than the US for sure, but isn't LIBOR at like 1% now since the Fed cut back rates, meaning NDBP can borrow money at that rate? That would mean they are getting a huge return on their cash, which I think isn't appropriate since their role is to stimulate the economy. Since they are USD funded, this should have come down a long long time ago. I do agree with you that stimulus should come in incentives and not stimulus checks ie cash.

Oreor, yes, the "stimulus" has to be earned and not a free-bee. That way, one gets a sense of pride and accountability as in having to repay it back. On the LIBOR rate, it would be interesting to see if NDBP is getting some of its finances based on said rate. And yes also in that NDBP should not compete with the privately held banks to see if its profits are at par. The last time I checked, our minimum wage was somewhere around $2.25/hr, hardly sufficient to finance a loan at 10% per annum let along support a family and custom.

Let's hope some of our elected Leaders are reading this block (and I do know that some are) so that we can start thinking outside of the box, so to speak.

Sulang,

Brien Sers Nicholas

Brien,

We should take it further and ask our senators or delegates, who may read this blog, to be more creative and transfer NDBP's entire housing portfolio to the Palau Housing Authority, and allow Palau Housing Authority to manage all housing loan programs funded by the republic. By doing this, NDBP would clean up its books of non-performing loans and will focus its effort on real economic development initiatives.

Let's face it, housing is far from economic development. It's one of the fundamental necessity, and in today's economy many NDBP's housing loan at 8% have caused many borrowers to default on their loans, leaving NDBP with many non performing and toxic loans that make it hard for NDBP to obtain more capital from other countries development banks.


NDBP borrowed the funds it has from Palau Social Security, EU, and others. They have to charge an interest rate above what they borrowed at to cover their operating expenses, and still make a profit to enable them to fund more loans.

The reason people are falling behind on their loans is not the interest rate. Its all of the other loans they go out and get after they get their house. Get a mortage..then still go around to every bank/loan business in Palau and get small loans to meet cultural obligations. The money from the house party is supposed to go towards paying down the mortgage, but instead it just disappears.

Limerei,

You are very observant when it comes down to environmental impact....BRAVO!!! With sewer problem on the rise, it only cost the Palau government more money to clean up while Amman Resort will have a one million dollar view of Nikko Bay. Not only our sewer is a problem but also our corals will be threatened by this project. As you may know that Nikko Bay is a coral breeding ground around Koror. Once we cover these corals with silts/muds, the coral will be suffocated. And in the end, Nikko Bay ecosystem will collapse and we will face another Oikull Bay Coral problem that we have spent big bucks to educate public and even put huge posters on babeldaob compact road................ YET, WE DID IT, AGAIN!!!!


Researcher:
This is why the EQPB required an environmental assessment be done before projects of this magnitude are put forth. Aman is going to be largely self-contained, self sufficient resort that will comply with environmental laws and regulations.

Now, as far as I can see, the corals and species of sponges and marine life in Nikko Bay have been damaged by the Taiwanese Tour operators - in fact, a survey done and presented at the PICRC some years ago show the DIRECT effect of this type of tourism operation - contact Planet Blue for a copy of the presentation; maybe you should look into who owns the catamaran that takes hordes of cheap coral trampling jellyfish eating low-end blue collar taiwanese tourists to Nikko Bay and see if they care about the damage their business is doing to the fragile Nikko Bay ecosystem.

Chelu, good suggestion but I rather see the Palau Housing "manage/enforce" the home loans after they are finalized by NDBP and transferred to them. That way, we need not have a loan department in Palau Housing, just additional costs.

Now, on to you Question Mark (?), I hear you but if NDBP has to loan the funds and charge a 10% interest rate just to meet its re-payment obligations and admin costs/expenses, then maybe it needs to review the whole program. Sort of does not make any sense that NDBP gets the money and they sit there till kingdom come as no ordinary folk can barrow. As to the house parties (don't forget "ocheraol"), I could not agree with you more. So, here is my suggestion, any home loan barrow seeking a loan from NDBP will be required to sign an assignment, a legal document wherein he/she promises to assign all the prceeds of the house party/ocheraol to NDBP. Otherwise, such proceeds will be considered income and therefore taxable. This is a good example where our custom is being aided by American law to be used for its intended purposes (building a home), don't you think.

Lastly, my "stimulus package" is intended to seek "new money" locally to be put into our economy. No need to get bogged down with the past.

Sulang,

Brien Sers Nicholas

Mardi is right about this project. The Aman resort can be constructed in a way that keeps damage to a minimum. There are hotels around the world constructed in environmentally friendly and efficient ways. All we have to do is research it and then make sure the job is done correctly. But that is our responsibility as a nation and government, to require and enforce this.

The Aman resort can be done in a good way with minimal impact. The impact of thousands of unnecessary foot fins on the coral every year is far greater. I've seen some of these boats that are just packed with way too many people who can't manage themselves in the water in a way that's safe for them or for the coral. It's ridiculous to even bring a boat with so many people into such a small and delicate environment like Nikko Bay.

We need to regulate the numbers of tourists allowed at each dive and snorkel location. And I also think we should have a tourist patrol where we can give citations to tour operators who allow their customers to damage the reefs, corals, leaving trash, etc.

The construction of Aman is nothing compared to uneducated tourists and uncaring tour operators.

Alii Brien and mardi,
In light of the global economic down turn and hardship it poses on Palauans in paying their loan, the 7th senate introduced a bill to reduce NDBP rate to something like 2 to 3% on top of the rate where the money came from. So if the money was from OEK then interest rate should not be more than 3% because NDBP is not paying back that money. EU gave money to NDBP I believe at 3% so that money should be loaned out at no more than 6%. However the House put about seven riders that were highly controversial including raise to president and ministers’ salaries in that bill. Even though it was a senate bill, it was rejected unanimously when it came back to the senate floor for approval because of the House riders.

I am 100% for high-end visitors and making Palau an exclusive destination catering to such clientele. However I do not believe that NDBP should be in business in funding foreign investors. These are two very different issues and should not be mixed to justify this transaction. It is beyond the scope of their legislative mandate that created NDBP in the first place. I remember analogy used in a court argument to demarcate territory or jurisdiction by one attorney saying that, “alsekum e kebenguk elak moruul er kau el mora teuachel.” What happened to basic reading? Read the laws first and follow its intent. NDBP was designed to help improve the financial situation for Palauans not some rich foreign investors including Aman.

This is what happened to Pension $1 million lost that was invested or deposited in PSB. Not reading the law and not following it results in putting us in a stupid situation that all we can really say is oops (choiiks). But all is lost after the fact. If only they read the law it clearly states that Pension fund can only be invested in the U.S. stock market. So please read the law for NDBP and follow its intent before we lose two million dollars.

Aman is undoubtedly a premier international organization meaning that it should be well financed so why is it using funds set aside in NDBP to develop and promote the indigenous people of Palau in the area of commerce. Are we that naive (diak dodengei a ngerang)? They should have money as their world renowned stature suggests. Is this really Aman? Or should I say Amen to Palauan hospitality to share our limited money to help develop foreign businesses. Here we go again with another “belisiich” for us island folks.

The real problem is that leaders and enforcing government agencies including board members do not read the existing laws. Little wonder it is like fighting a losing war trying to make students in Palau be interested in reading in schools nowadays. As part of solution to our problems let only people to boards and commissions who are not only capable of reading but possess the affinity to read. Then half of our problems may not be problems in the first place. Sulang.

santy

Hey, Santy good to hear from you as always...Senator, can you enlighten us all here about this Aman group? Who are they? Also, it would be nice to know more about this beautiful arrangement they have with our National Bank as in what security(ies) was/were pledged to secure the loan and at what interest rate. Can you help on this as well?

Sulang...

Brien Sers Nicholas

It gets very frustrating every time opporunities come knocking on our door. It ends up being mocked or someone in the system ends up screwing it around for personal benefit. Investors end up high tailing out of Palau because everyone want's a piece of the pie even before the party starts.

Every election year we hear so many promises to bring ways to boost the economy. We have yet to see real progress. I am starting to think that we
are running out of honest and serious leaders. I know it's still early to judge, but Negativity is strarting to be a norm in our island.


Mesulang,

Alii Brien,

Here is what I am going to do. I will read the law for NDBP to see if there is any provision in it to give such concessions in funding foreign projects in Palau. I am not sure if NDBP will give me details on the alleged loan to Aman. But I will make sure that they will follow the law until it is changed to allow funding foreign businesses. If they have so much fund sitting idle then they should consider lowering or reducing interest rates on existing loans to provide relief to Palauan citizens during this global economic meltdown.

Mardi I hope you are not misunderstanding my angle on this issue. It has nothing to do with Aman really but NDBP. Are they following the law is the question. Sulang ma uriul.

santy

Ungil tutau e Senator:

When I was last there, I brought a copy of a propose bill making all government records (which will include NDBP's records), with very limited exceptions, available for inspection upon request and payment of fees by the general public. I am hopeful that it will soon be introduced and signed into law. That is what we need desperately as it is in line with accountability and transperancy, subjects we love to talk about during election runs but not after.

At the present, we the people are left to talk about issues without knowing all the facts, resulting in speculation, gossips, and what not. And, when you do go and try to get the information, you are told that they are not subject to disclosures.

Sulang,

Brien Sers Nicholas

ngaregnii a chad louchais el kmo Aman a dimlak el soal melai a loan ra NDBP. ng diak lousbech a udoud ra NDBP leng mui el sebechir el mekedecherur a hotel lolab a di ududel tial kombalii. engdi a kmal mle uchul tial loan a bai rechad er Belau. e le Aman a mlo soal el mo diak loruul er tial hotel. ng millekoi el kmo a remerredel er tial Aman a mlo bekikl lousiobai ra chelsel Belau le te mlo medengei a chisel a bebil ra kombalii luleak uchei er tir el mei e milecheblad ra rechad er Belau. ma rechad er Belau ma NDBP a mlo bebkikl e nguu a $2mil. el msang a Aman me bol sebechir el kongei el di ngara Belau.

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