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Last updateTue, 23 Jul 2019 12am







    Monday, July 22, 2019-7:29:16P.M.






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NMI government faces budget cuts

THE two typhoons that battered the islands in September and October damaged important infrastructure and business establishments, causing a decrease in local revenue.

As a result, the CNMI government “expects a reduction in gross budgetary resources for fiscal year 2020” which starts on Oct. 1, 2019.

The Office of Management and Budget  last week informed heads of all departments and other government agencies that the government incurred approximately $18 million in disaster expenditures, and the projected net budgetary resources available for appropriation in FY 2020 amount to $142,225,313 only.

In FY 2019, $171,589,677 was available for government appropriation.

In her memorandum, Special Assistant for Management and Budget Vicky Villagomez told the department heads or spending authorities that in submitting their proposed spending plans for FY 2020, they should “collectively begin with a cautious approach, and to be transparent and accountable for all allocated resources.” These include general fund and non-general fund sources and all funds including revolving and program-income allocations.

“Following the devastation of two presidentially declared disasters within the span of 45 days,” she said the Commonwealth incurred approximately $18 million in disaster expenditures.

“The CNMI sustained damage to critical infrastructures such as our airport facilities, causing flight cancellations and halting tourist arrivals until restorations were completed. The CNMI saw a decrease in revenues from damage to business establishments and major hotels, causing some hotels to shutdown operation temporarily,” the OMB chief said.

“The prolonged economic impact of these disasters will directly affect the CNMI’s ability to operate with limited government resources visibly declining during the last quarter of FY 2018, and in the first quarter of FY2019, therefore we expect a reduction in the gross budgetary resources for FY 2020,” she added.

In an interview, the governor’s Chief of Staff Angel Demapan said  once the government’s budget process begins, it will have a better picture of the FY 2020 budget. The governor has to submit his budget proposal to the Legislature by April 1.

“Of course the revenue projection will take into account the impact of the typhoons that hit us,” Demapan added.