Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 19 Jan 2019 12am







    Sunday, January 20, 2019-1:40:55P.M.






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Governor thumbs down legislation converting NMTI to public institution

GOVERNOR Ralph DLG. Torres rejected a legislative proposal to turn the Northern Marianas Trade Institute into a public career and technical training institution, saying such move might cause the central government undue financial burden.

Torres rejected Senate Bill 20-21, citing its “immediate and long-term financial implication.”thumbDown01

The chief executive called on the legislature to ensure “fiscal planning exists before the government can undertake additional financial burdens.”

Saipan Sen. Justo Quitugua, chairman of the Senate Committee Education and Youth Affairs, authored the bill.

“While I commend the Legislature for making meaningful strides toward addressing the critical issues affecting our labor force and for recognizing the need for well-coordinated and comprehensive training sources for local U.S. citizens and permanent residents, I am compelled to express my reservations regarding the immediate and long-term financial implications to be weighted on the government if this bill is implemented,” Torres said in his March 16 transmittal letter to the presiding officers of both legislative houses.

The governor reiterated his support for NMTI’s programs, particularly the development of local workforce.

“I have always supported NMTI’s mission of developing our local workforce and its role in our community to ensure that every willing local worker has the skills and access to employment, in order to be self-sufficient, progress within our growing economy, and become contributing members of society,” he said.

“I will continue to secure the necessary funding for the advancement and operation of NMTI. Additionally, it is my goal to create a taskforce within the various government agencies in order to thoroughly assess the trade school’s current and future organizational and financial structure,” he added.

Torres also said he will designate a suitable property that will become a permanent home for NMTI in the future.

When Quitugua introduced the legislation in February last year, he noted the large demand for workers needing trade skills. He noted that his bill would cater to the tourism/hospitality and construction industries.

“(This) is a demand that will significantly increase over the next several years,” Quitugua said in his bill.

Quitugua said the NTMI, if converted into a public institution,  would train, educate and expand the number of local workforce that would eventually replace foreign workers.

On Oct. 25, 2017, the Senate Committee on Education and Youth Affairs endorsed the bill’s passage.

It was only last January when the House of Representatives passed Quitugua’s bill on first and final reading. (Marianas Variety)